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Merrilee Albright

Merrilee Albright Nov. 19, 1933 - Dec. 29, 2008

SHREVEPORT, LA - Mrs. Merrilee Albright died at age 75 on December 29, 2008, after battling ovarian cancer.

Merrilee Grace Prentice was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on November 19, 1933, daughter of Reverend Robert Prentice and Doris Prentice. She moved to Oregon then Montana where she won first place in the state competition playing the drums and piano. After finishing high school in Helena, Montana, Merrilee moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she became a Registered Nurse. She met the love of her life, James Aaron Albright, MD, and married on June 25, 1954. Merrilee was known for her sparkle, her energy, and her wit throughout her life. While helping Air Force military men and families in the 1950's, she was affectionately called "the young Lady in White" at military bases in England and Germany. Merrilee was known as the nurse who was always available to help those in need.

Merrilee was the proud mother of three children: Dan, Susie, and Linda; and proud grandmother of eight grandchildren: Eric, Carolyn, Stephen, Chelsie, Alexandra, Savannah, Emma, and James. While raising their kids in West Haven, Connecticut, Merrilee was a dynamo: starting the city's first girls' baseball little league, active in the arts at Long Wharf Theater, and organizing a new political party to save the Connecticut beaches for public use. Merrilee and Jim moved to Shreveport in 1978 where Jim served as Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery at the LSU School of Medicine. For five decades, Merrilee worked as a strong advocate of medicine and education. Merrilee is well known at Yale University and LSU-Shreveport for her support of resident surgeons in training and especially for her support of physicians' spouses.

Merrilee graduated Summa Cum Laude from LSU-Shreveport with a BA in history and then graduated from Tulane Law School at age 57. She combined her skills in law and nursing to teach nurses how to cope in litigious environments. She consulted in Shreveport and even in Latvia. Merrilee provided free legal service to a wide range of persons, such as families, elderly, displaced homemakers, and juveniles. The Shreveport Pro Bono Board honored her twice for her hundreds of hours of free service to the indigent of Shreveport. Merrilee and Jim opened their house many times over the years to people who needed a place to stay. Amateur and professional dancers, professors, and college students have all felt fortunate to have a warm, positive home to live in.

Merrilee was always interested in other people, even strangers. Merrilee's father was a minister and Merrilee created her own ministry, sincerely touching the lives of many, learning their life stories, and sharing in their happiness and sorrow. Merrilee was the thread that held together much of the family. She also knew how to have a good time wherever she was. Merrilee's husband Jim, her three children, eight grandchildren, brother Dan, sister Marlys, in laws John, Marcy, Julie, Joyce and many friends in Shreveport and across the country will miss Merrilee's charm, intellect, and zest for life. Merrilee's mind and wit were as sharp as ever until the day she died. With Merrilee's death, heaven just became a little livelier!

In lieu of flowers, the Albright family requests that charitable gifts be directed to the Sunshine Kids, a nonprofit organization that supports children afflicted with cancer: www. sunshinekids.org/donate.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 24, 2009, at 5 pm at Osborn Funeral Home, 3631 Southern Avenue in Shreveport. The family will receive friends after the service at their home, 3932 Fairfield Avenue. OSBORNFUNERALHOME.NET

318-865-8426

Published in Shreveport Times from Jan. 22 to Jan. 23, 2009
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