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SHIRLEY VIVIAN TATUM AVERY
December 17, 1933 – June 6, 2018
On Wednesday, June 6, 2018, Shirley Tatum Avery, age 84, passed away peacefully in Edmond, Oklahoma, after a long battle with dementia. Shirley, born in Banner, Arkansas to James Sherman Tatum and Clemmie Ethel Griffis Tatum, was one of 13 children.
Shirley leaves behind a loving daughter Anne Avery-Pearce, son-in-law Robert Pearce, sister Vera Tatum Sillings, sister-in-law Emojean Miller Tatum, brother Stanley Tatum, brother William “Bud” Tatum, brother Keith Tatum & wife Barbara, sister Joan Tatum Henry, brother Michael Tatum & wife Elaine, and sister Arlene Tatum Benedict & husband Henry.
Shirley is preceded in death by her parents, sister Lucille Tatum Deaner & husband Jud, sister Selma Tatum Califana & husband Jerry, brother James Sherman Tatum Jr. (Emojean), sister Celesta Tatum Bogert & husband John, brother-in-law Jerry Sillings (Vera), sister Anna Lee Tatum Singleton & husband Clarence, sister-in-law Geri Wilson Tatum (Stanley), and brother-in-law John Henry (Joan).
When Shirley was 3, the family moved to Maud/Vamoosa, Oklahoma where the Tatum family worked in farming. Shirley was proud of her early years growing up a farm girl and had many captivating stories to share about the real struggles, challenges, and joys of rural life. One summer, she would recall, when her father bought an entire truckload of fresh peaches. The girls would then peel and can hundreds of peaches for weeks on end, make peach pie, and eat peaches all summer long until they were literally sick of peaches. Shirley loved to play the piano and would often play piano during church services. Shirley was on the Maud High School girl’s basketball team and had a great affinity for the sport. She would later recall that during that time she “… would rather play basketball than eat.” After graduating from Maud High School in 1951 she joined her older sisters in Washington, D.C. and began work at the Potomac River Naval Yard. After a few years she returned to Oklahoma resuming her career at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Shirley also worked part time at Casual Corner, a ladies apparel store, in Crossroads Mall.
More than anything else, Shirley loved to socialize, and had a knack for engaging people. Through her genuine spirit, Shirley had many friends and made many life-long contacts. Shirley was also a caring mother, a beloved sister, and remained close to all her kinfolk throughout her life. Shirley also had two rescue dogs: Blondie and Rusty. Shirley was well known for her generosity, her wit and sense of humor, and always had a smile and a giggle to share even in her final days. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her.
Many thanks to Frontier Hospice and the entire staff at Teal Creek who provided Shirley with the utmost care, respect, and loving kindness.
Services will be at Schrock Park/ Disc Golf Course, in Tuttle, Oklahoma on Saturday June 16, 2018 at 11:00am
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