Beloved Mother, Mother-in Law, “Nanny,” and friend, Shirley Jane Ferguson Garrett passed from this life into the next Tuesday October 18, 2022, in much the same way she lived her life. Quietly, with great strength, and surrounded by those who loved her.
Born on April 12, 1936, in Memphis, Tennessee, she was preceded in death by her parents, Elizabeth and Everett Ferguson, and by her husband and love of her life for 64 years, Ray Garrett. Shirley is survived by their four children: Danny Garrett (Carol), Diane Giddens (Steve), Don Garrett (Lisa) and David Garrett (Scott); her seven grandchildren: Brooke Harris (Marcus), Jake Garrett (Maddie), Brett Williamson (Beyla), John Garrett (Jenny), Everett Garrett (Leann), Nick Garrett (Hope), and Joseph Garrett. Also surviving her were three great grandchildren, the true lights of her life, Harper Harris, Carrie Garrett, and Eleanor Rogers Garrett. Two other great grandchildren, Jacob Daniel Garrett and River Reign Williamson will arrive in November and December, and we fully believe Nanny is bouncing them on her knee in Heaven at this moment! She is also survived by two brothers and their families, Jimmy Ferguson of Wylie, Texas and Buddy Ferguson of Nashville, Tennessee, as well as a host of other family and friends.
Shirley was a 1954 graduate of Memphis’s Bartlett High School, where among many other honors, she was head cheerleader and Miss Bartlett High. She and Ray married September 21, 1956, with her bridesmaids dressed in Shirley’s lifelong signature color, red. Having four children by the age of 27 she spent many happy years living her greatest dream, raising and caring for her “Four Ds.” She made sure her home was always open and a “gathering place,” providing sweet memories of laughter, fun and “Mrs. Garrett’s chili and popcorn” for her children’s many friends. She was fiercely protective and proud of her children, always finding so much pleasure in supporting their many and varied extra curricular activities. That love and support followed them into adulthood and extended to her grandchildren as well.
When her children were older she worked for both Johns-Ridout’s and Jefferson Memorial Funeral Homes, and as an empty nester she served for many years as pastor’s secretary at Liberty Park Baptist Church. She was a member of First Baptist Church Trussville.
Shirley was very musical but never enjoyed the spotlight for herself. She played the piano with a unique and technically proper style, and also had a beautiful alto singing voice. She passed this musical ability on to her children, and did very much enjoy seeing them shine in their many musical endeavors. She was a member of many church choirs through the years. Shirley had a lifelong love of gospel music, and after retiring she served as a nursing home volunteer and often played piano for the residents.
Although a true belle and beauty of Memphis, our Shirley Jane Garrett was no shrinking Southern Violet. No, the Shirley Jane Garrett we all knew and loved was a flaming red Steel Magnolia. She was tough and tenacious, but also warm and kind. She was always welcoming, always available to listen, and was known by her family to have a witty and wickedly deadpan sense of humor. She was completely unashamed of her convictions and beliefs, yet open minded to other’s feelings and opinions. She did not like change, but whatever path her children or those she loved chose to follow, she found ways to go with the flow and still offer her love and support.
There are not words to described how she will be missed. But we know and believe that the next words she heard after, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” were from her only love Ray, pacing expectantly with toothpick in hand. “Welcome home Shirley, I’ve been looking for you!”
Services for Shirley Garrett will be held Monday, October 24, at Deerfoot Memorial Funeral Home in Trussville. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the Funeral Service at 11. Graveside service will follow at Jefferson Memorial Gardens in Trussville. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests donations to Hospice of Clay County Patient Care Fund.
P.O. Box 1270, Ashland, AL 36251 or Independence Place, P.O. Box 1237, Trussville, AL 35173.