Shirley McCracken Bryce, born July 31, 1929, in Detroit, Mich., began her next adventure May 9, 2014, in St. Augustine, Fla. As with most things, she did it her way, slipping peacefully off, watching the sun set at her home on the St. Johns River surrounded by her family and friends. She will be dearly missed by her daughter, Christine O'Kon; her granddaughter, Erin O'Kon Yeck; her brother, Arthur McCracken; her niece, Tina McCracken, all of her family, friends and all who knew her as Grandmasaurus.
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Shirley earned a bachelor's degree in French and a minor in social studies at Oakland University in Michigan. She began and finished her teaching career, 27 years, at Palmetto Junior High. While teaching, she earned her master's degree at Florida International University in social studies. She earned numerous awards for her teaching excellence.
Once retired, Shirley began her next adventure crisscrossing the United States for many years in her tricked-out little van. While on the road she discovered the wonders of storytelling. This became her passion and she shared her stories with the State of Florida, this community, schools, family and anyone who cared to listen. She was a long-time member of the St. Augustine Tale Tellers and loved every moment she was with them. Shirley was proud to be a participant of the 40th ACCORD. She believed it was a privilege to interview and write the stories of so many courageous people who were a part of the St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement.
Shirley was active in various community activities and earned several awards for her contributions to the community of St Johns County and the State of Florida. Her priority was always to give back.
The family is grateful to North East Florida Hospice for their care of Shirley and her loved ones in her last days. In place of flowers, please donate to your local Community Hospice.
To help send Shirley on her way, come join a celebration of her life at a good old-fashioned Irish wake on Saturday, May 17, 2014, 2 p.m. at her home. Come comfortable and casual and be prepared to share a special memory of this extraordinary woman's life.
Published in St. Augustine Record on May 15, 2014