Shirley Louise Bryant Becker passed away peacefully in her home on January 22, 2020.
Shirley was born in Norfolk, VA on October 6, 1929, the only child of Clarence “Bob” Bryant and Louise Wyatt Bryant. She is predeceased by her husband of 58 years, Edmond Charles Becker.
Shirley graduated from Maury High School, class of ’47 and the Norfolk Division of William and Mary (ODU) with majors in vocal and piano performance. While at “The Division” she hosted her own radio show, “The Shirley Bryant Show.” She sang the contralto lead in several productions with college opera, concert choir, and the Madrigal singers.
She also entertained troops by singing and tap dancing as a member of the USO Show Troupe number three during the war.
Shirley holds the title of “Miss Norfolk” and “Miss Virginia” and was grateful for the scholarships offered to continue her music education. She sang with The Tidewater Light Opera Company, the Town and Gown Chorale, The Norfolk Savoyards, (Gilbert and Sullivan) and The Virginia Beach Chorale. She performed in plays and musicals at the Tidewater Dinner Theatre, and The Norfolk and Virginia Beach Little Theatres. She was the long time president of The Thoroughgood Music Study Club raising scholarships for deserving area students.
Shirley served God in the ministry of music. She was raised a Methodist at Fairmount Park Methodist in Norfolk. As an adult she was a soloist at Ohef Shalom Temple, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk, Royster Memorial Presbyterian Church, (where she and Ed were married) and Park Place Baptist Church where she was also a secretary to Dr. Paul Watlington.
Shirley’s other interests were varied and creative. She was an award winning skilled oil painter and a unique crafter of wearable art that she sold at various shows. She enjoyed yoga, playing bridge and reading. She always had a dog to love, which gave her unending joy.
She was a member of Mu Alpha Sigma honorary sorority, a past president of Gamma lota chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, a member of the Junior and Senior Womans clubs of Newport News, The Maury High School Ya-Ya’s and Musicians lunch bunch.
After marrying Ed Becker in 1952, she became a stay at home mom raising her three girls. Shirley’s daughters were the light of her life. As the children were older she held several secretarial positions and slowly began performing again. Her love of the theatre inspired several generations not only within her own family but also among the many who saw her performances.
Shirley lived a full and rewarding life and everyone who knew her was enriched through her friendship. When you were greeted by her it was with warmth and a beautiful smile. She was a devoted wife, loving mother, adoring grandmother and great-grandmother and friend to many. A vibrant, gracious, creative and kind woman, she will be forever in our hearts.
Her memory will be cherished by her three daughters, Gail Becker Collier (Jimmy), Cindy Becker Caskey, Dana Becker Elmore (Todd), all of Virginia Beach. She was “Mamere” to four grandchildren, Emily Caskey Gore (Steven) of Athens, Georgia, Sam Caskey of Virginia Beach, Brandon and Jade Elmore of Virginia Beach and her twin great grandsons, Frazier and Emmett Gore of Athens, Georgia.
A celebration of her life will be held at St John’s Lutheran Church on March 21st, 2020 at 2:00 PM. 8918 Tidewater Drive, Norfolk , VA 23503
Reception to follow.