Shirley Ann (McNeal) Mathison was born August 15th, 1957, in Coahoma, MS, to the union of Olivia O’leary (Jones) and Emmit McNeal. In 1966 she and her family relocated to St. Louis, MO, where she later went on to graduate from Central Highschool. Shirley decided to dedicate her life to being a servant of Christ and joined New Jerusalem Church, at an early age. Shirley developed a love for music and singing. The love of those two things combined later led her to join a quartet, The Gospel Salvation Singers. During her time with the Gospel Salvation Singers, she traveled to various places using her voice to spread God’s word.
In 1987, after giving birth to her first two children she decided that the big city was no place to raise her family. With her favorite quote in mind, “The will of God will take you nowhere that the grace of God won’t protect you,” she then relocated to Benton Harbor, MI, where she gave birth to her youngest daughter and joined Macedonia Community Church. She was a faithful member of the choir and on August 6th,1996 Shirley married the love of her life, Mr. Jesse Charles Mathison. Together they enjoyed traveling, fishing, and spending time with close loved ones and friends. However, Shirley’s greatest joy in life came from spending time with her children and grandchildren. She would often tell anyone who would listen about how she was in the hospital rooms for each of her grandchildren and great-granddaughter’s births. To her sitting around the fire pit, laughing, talking, and enjoying her family was more than money could ever buy. She was short in stature but her big heart and the love she gave to anyone she came in contact with made her a giant in the eyes of all that knew and loved her and maybe even herself as she often joked that she was 6ft 1in tall. Shirley transitioned from this life and gained her heavenly wings on April 7th, 2022.
She was preceded in death by her husband Jesse Charles Mathison, her mother, father, maternal and paternal grandparents, her brother Harry Brown, two nephews Vincent Davidson and Clarence Jones, and her favorite brother-in-law who was also like a second dad to her, Wilbur Davidson.
She leaves to cherish her memory one son Derrick (Deborah) McNeal of South Haven, MI, two daughters Alicia (James) Terry, Candise (Taurean Williams) Robinson both of Benton Harbor Michigan, two sisters Mary Davidson and Barbara “Bobby” Jones, one great Aunt Cozetta Jones, all of St. Louis, Mo, one brother Charles Jones, Saco, ME and favorite cousins Jimmy & Liz Chandler, of Benton Harbor, MI, two friends who later became sisters Trudy Dudley of Dowagiac, MI and Pamela Lesniak of Granger, IN, ten grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, and host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
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