Shirley Sue Berry was born the second of three children to Wanda Faye and Jesse Lee Berry on June 4, 1943, in Mesa, Arizona. She went home to her reward in heaven on Oct. 28, 2020 after an extended illness.
The stories told about the middle child seemed to be true in some of the antics that happened between her and her younger brother Danny. Mom had to watch carefully when Shirley, as a 16-month old, would pat his little face while pinching his leg. In spite of their closeness in age, they were extremely close in all things throughout their childhood. They often walked barefooted about a quarter mile to the Stix root beer stand. Danny, knowing she was afraid of dogs, always barked as they passed the neighbor’s dog. Shirley knew he would do it but still agreed to go with him every time.
The family grew up in Mesa and attended elementary school there. They later moved to Tempe, where Shirley and her sister Margaret attended Arizona State University.
Shirley moved to San Manuel to live with Margaret in 1964 and began teaching fifth grade at Avenue B Elementary School. She enjoyed teaching very much and had many friends among both the faculty and students. Being prone to nurturing, she loved to help students with their emotional and social problems and maintained many friendships long after their school years.
Shirley was a faithful member of the Assembly of God Church and served as Missions Secretary and in fund-raising projects. Serving God was a priority in her life.
During her retirement, she remained active. She continued relationships with her colleagues in a sorority that met for monthly dinners. She enjoyed several cruises to Hawaii, Alaska, the Bahamas, and Europe. She also spent time shopping with friends and family, particularly at Fry’s, Walmart, and Costco. You might run into her frequently in one of her favorite haunts. She was very social and loved to bake cookies or cook big meals to share with family or friends. We all enjoyed her baking at family dinners, especially the hot rolls, sugar cookies, and pinwheels. At church, she was frequently the last one to leave the building, as she continued to chat with whoever was still there.
Shirley is preceded in death by mother, Wanda Faye Berry, father, Jesse Lee Berry, and brother-in-law, Carlton James Bell. She is survived by her sister, Margaret Ann Bell; brother, Danny Lee Berry (Connie); nieces, Deborah Cline, Krystal Cline, Tanya Heister, and Amber Lopez; nephews, Danny Berry Jr. and Kyle Berry; as well as many other great nieces, great nephews, and cousins.
Per Shirley’s wishes, cremation and urn interment will be completed in her mother’s grave at Valley of the Sun Mortuary in Chandler, Arizona, followed by a private family graveside service. Anyone wishing to make comments, send cards or flowers, may refer to the mortuary website.