Shirley passed away on October 4, 2019, two weeks short of her 93rd birthday. Shirley was born at Alameda Hospital on October 18th 1926 to Dr. T. Leslie and Casey Brown. She grew up with sisters Beverly and Natalie who predeceased her.
Shirley attended elementary and high schools in Alameda; graduating from Alameda High School in 1944. She continued her education at the University of California at Berkeley. One of the highlights of her time at Cal was the lifelong friends she made as a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. These were friendships that lasted her entire life.
After college she married her college sweetheart and fellow Alamedan Sherrill “Sherry” Conner, also an Alameda High School and University of California graduate. The couple settled in Alameda where they raised their children Sherrill and Kathy.
In 1969 she returned to school to earn her secondary teaching credential and began a twenty-six-year career as an instructor in the dental assisting program at the College of Alameda.
Besides teaching, Shirley was active in many volunteer activities. She was a member and past president of the Junior League of the East Bay and served as the first women president of the University of California Alumni Association, which included a term on the Board of Regents. She was also active in Junior Center of Art and Science and the Volunteer Bureau of the East Bay. She was the Rosalie Stern award winner in 1963 in recognition of her volunteer work in the community.
After retirement in 1995 Shirley lived a full life with friends, family and international and domestic travel. Wonderful memories and friendships were created on the many hiking trips she took with her special friends from the university. She and dear friend and fellow Cal alum Harry Agler were able to enjoy each other’s company on excursions to bowl games and other travel and social events. She was a relentless Cal Bear supporter and football season ticket holder. Her biggest regret may have been never seeing her Golden Bears in a Rose Bowl.
She will be deeply missed by her daughter Kathy Murphy (husband Michael), their children Christopher and Molly, son Sherrill (wife Monica) and their sons Zachary and Logan, and Sherrill’s daughter Alison (mother Anne). Alison and her husband Nate blessed Shirley with great grandchildren Viva and Theo.
Shirley will be remembered as a strong, intelligent, compassionate woman who loved life, friends and family. She will be long missed and never forgotten. Her laughter and presence in the relationships she built will live on forever.
In lieu of a memorial service a family donation will be made to the University of California Alumni Association. Remembrances may be made to that same organization: (510) 900-8200 or the charity of one’s choice.
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