Eulogy for Shirley Carberry
May 16, 2019
by Pastor John Partridge
Shirley Carberry was one of those people that, behind the scenes and out of the public eye, made the world go ‘round. She was one of those people who aren’t out to get the attention and adulation of the world but who saw what needed to be done and just put her head down and got it done. Shirley was born on May 17th, 1927 to Robert and Muriel Crum. This being the year that began the Great Depression, it wasn’t an easy time to be born and, in a way, that sort of set the tone for Shirley’s life. It often wasn’t easy, but every time that life got hard, Shirley just put her head down, and got it done anyway.
Early on, Shirley’s father, without announcement or explanation, just up and left his family. And so, Shirley, Maxine, and Robert took care of one another and, at the same time, took care of their mom. Robert went to work early in the morning before school assisting a dairy man in his morning deliveries. At the end of their morning route, the dairyman would drop Bob off near Mount Union and Shirley would ride her bike there to pick him up and ride them both to school. At the age of 18, Shirley went to work at the West Ely Street Market and a few years later, when the owner retired, she took it over, eventually bought it, and her husband learned to be a butcher and joined her there.
Shirley married Bob’s best friend Milton, at the age of 22, on September 3rd, 1949 after he had returned to Alliance after the end of his service in World War II. At the time they were married, Shirley lived with, and cared for, her mom, and upon their marriage, Milton just moved in with the two of them and helped Shirley. Milton and Shirley lived there together for more than 37 years until Milton died in 1987. After that, Shirley continued to care for her mother alone. It was only after her mother’s death, that Shirley finally moved out and got her own place.
But we’ve skipped too far ahead. Shirley and Milton had 37 years together and during that time they had many adventures. They worked together at the West Ely Street Market, for a while Shirley worked in the offices of Judge Tangi, they attended church, bowled in a bowling league, played cards (Shirley loved to play cards), volunteered with Boy Scout Troop 50, kept a garden (Shirley was known around town for her beautiful flowers), traveled together, and even took a trip to Europe together. Shirley kept a scrapbook of their travels in Europe that included something from every place that they had visited. And they had a cottage at Berlin Lake where there was always a crowd of friends with skiing, and swimming, and card games, fun and laughter.
Shirley was well-known at Christ Church. She became a member when it was the First Methodist Episcopal Church and stayed as the denomination merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to become the United Methodist Church, and she just faithfully kept coming no matter what. Although she and Milton never had any of their own, Shirley loved children and you could find her volunteering with the Boy Scouts and the Cub Scouts, and with the church youth and anywhere else that she was needed. Shirley could often be found helping in the kitchen for church dinners. She came to church every Sunday with her mom, and after her mom passed away, then she came every Sunday with her sister Maxine and with her niece Sheryl and Sheryl’s husband Jeff.
Shirley not only attended regularly, but everyone knew that she just hated to miss church. Even after she moved to Danbury Senior Living, and could no longer get out, Shirley still loved to hear all the news about Christ Church, it’s people, it’s missionary outreach and ministries, and she always had questions about the latest church news, as well as the happenings around town, about the Alliance High School Alumni, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, and Christ Church’s Cooking for the Soul classes whenever Susan and Dick Diser would come for a visit. Many years ago, Shirley belonged to the Protheon Sunday school class, and she kept in tough with many of her friends from that time and many of them were the founding group that regularly attended our church’s 8:30 am worship service until it ended a few years ago.
Shirley was known for the things that she loved. She loved her garden, she loved riding her bicycle, she loved trips to Las Vegas, she loved a cold beer (even if it often took her most of the day to drink one), and she loved raisin pie. Boy I wish I had known that. Nobody else in my family (except me) likes raisin pie, if I had known this sooner, I would have used that as an excuse to go and buy some just so I could share it with her. And Shirley loved to read. And boy oh boy did she love to read. If you had visited her, she had her favorite chair set up with her lamp and bookcases and piles of books and magazines surrounding her so that she could reach everything and just stay there for hours. And right up until the end, Shirley subscribed to our church newsletter and our weekly Sunday sermons, and she read everything that we sent her.
Shirley spent much of her time helping others and contributing to her family, her church, and her community in any way that she could. She was the secretary of the North End reunion for 25 years, a life member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, and active in many things as church. She collected antique clocks, cuckoo clocks, hurricane lamps, most any kind of money that was dated prior to 1918, and, as her brother described it, “anything old.” In her later years, Shirley became interested in the stock market. Not surprisingly, she read books about it, she studied it, and then she tried her had at it and, as I understand it, she got pretty good at it.
But Shirley didn’t do things for the money. Although she kept enough for herself to be comfortable, Shirley was just never motivated by money. She was always generous with what she had no matter how much, or how little, she had herself. She was a giving person who was known for her generosity. When her sister Maxine passed away and left Shirley a fair amount of money from her IRA, Shirley simply said that she didn’t need any more than what she already had, so she gave it all away to worthy causes. Even now, with her passing, Shirley is blessing her church and several other charitable organizations with what she had.
Shirley was not only a sister to her siblings but the three of them were close, if not the closest of friends. She was known as a woman who was always willing to share her opinion, on any subject, but she was also known for her gentle spirit, her unselfish attitude, and a good, even wonderful, woman. It has been said that everyone who knew Shirley, liked her.
And so, before we conclude, I want you to hear some of the adjectives that seemed to repeat themselves in this eulogy, and in all the conversations that I’ve had with people about Shirley Carberry. They were words like, gentle, persistent, reliable, undemanding, faithful, unselfish, helpful, generous, and giving. Shirley was not the kind of person that tried to be the center of attention, but she was always there, in the background in the office, or in the kitchen, doing the things that needed to be done. Her life wasn’t always easy, and maybe that’s why she spent so much of her time trying to make the lives of others easier. She spent her life trying to help people and, in the process, she made our community, and the world, a better place to live.
Not only do we all owe Shirley Carberry a debt, we need more people like her.
My prayer is that those of us who knew Shirley Carberry would learn from her example and become the kind of giving, faithful, and loving person that she was so that we too can make the world a better place.
Obituary for Shirley Carberry
Shirley A. Carberry, age 91, of Alliance, passed away at 3:20 a.m., Saturday, May 11, 2019 at Danbury Senior Living of Alliance.
She was born May 17, 1927 in Alliance, Ohio to Robert L. and Muriel (Elder) Crum.
Shirley was a 1945 graduate of Alliance High School in the class of 1945 and was co-owner of the former West Ely Market and had worked in Judge Tangi’s office for five years.
A 70 plus year member of Christ United Methodist Church, Shirley was a member of the Protheon Sunday school class and also a life member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary No. 1076.
Survivors include brother, Robert G. Crum, of Alliance: and two nieces, Sheryl (Jeff) Lain of Alliance and Carol Tallman of Boardman.
Preceding her in death were her parents: husband, Milton Carberry whom she married September 3, 1949; sister, Maxine Lastivka and a niece, Joni Mastriacovo.
Services will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, May 17, 2019 at Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home with Pastor John Partridge officiating. Friends may call one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at Highland Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions may be made to Christ United Methodist Church 470 E. Broadway Ave., Alliance, OH 44601.
Arrangements are by Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home 75 S. Union Ave., Alliance, OH 44601.