Shirley Marie Straughter, 85, passed away peacefully at home on February 21, 2021 with her loving family by her side.
Shirley was born on June 5, 1935 to Harley and Donna Upshaw in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Donna later married Walter Skier, who Shirley called Father for more than 40 years. Halifax was always “home” for Shirley but at the age of 18, she traveled to Boston to visit her sister. It was during this visit that Shirley met the love of her life, Don Straughter.
Together Shirley and Don began a loving life together and married on July 21, 1955. They went on to build their family and businesses, and together welcomed five children, over 15 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
Shirley was a devoted mother to all five children, raising them to be strong and independent. She never missed games or other important events and encouraged them to be their best. Each of her 5 children have been impacted by her love and support and in each she has instilled something of herself:
her grit and determination in her son Brian
her desire to heal in her daughter Shirley
her business acumen in her son Don
her love of cooking in her daughter Cheryl
her love of the Nation of Islam in her daughter Yvette
As Don & Shirley considered names for their business, they settled on Nova Sheen which they fondly described its meaning as “new shine”. Shirley also loved the name as it reminded her of her home, Nova Scotia. It began as a dry-cleaning business in which Shirley pressed all the shirts, tailored clothes and operated much of the machinery as well. They also ventured into the blind and flooring business where Shirley handled most of the venetian blind work, including doing some of the bidding. In the 1980s, Shirley opened Nu Life, a health and wellness store where she did Iridology exams and opened the window of good health to many people.
Shirley was both an influential and commanding presence in her community, acting as a mentor and support for many. Shirley’s independent and adventuresome spirit was best showcased by her desire to own her own boat which she proudly named “Shirley’s Too” – as she was truly an impressive and courageous force that did not let anything hold her back.
In the Nation of Islam, Sister Shirley Muhammad was the preeminent version of a woman who stood up for all the women of the world. She boosted the spirit of all she encountered. Brothers and sisters flocked to her for wisdom and guidance both personally and professionally. No one left Sister Shirley's presence without being uplifted!
Shirley lived her life loving, mentoring, and nurturing not only her immediate family but hundreds of those in her community, across the country and throughout the world. Countless men and women have lovingly called her “Ma".
Shirley is survived by her husband Don, her sister Stella MacLean, her five children, Yvette Muhammad, Cheryl Straughter (Nancy), Don Straughter Jr. (Sharon), Shirley Carrington (John), and Brian Straughter (Heather), and her many grand and great grandchildren.
Shirley is predeceased by her parents Donna and Walter Skeir, Harley Upshaw, Arthur Upshaw (Brother), June Carter, Yvonne Young and Merle MacLean (Sisters) and Jake Straughter (Grandson).
Donations may be made in Shirley’s name to Beth Israel Lahey Health at Home. We are appreciative of their hospice services for our mother in her final days. Donations can be made at:
https://giving.laheyhealth.org/lahey-health/donate-give/ and clicking on Beth Israel Lahey Health at Home.
Arrangements are under the direction of the George Lopes Funeral Home, 647 Main Street, Brockton, MA 02301
To leave condolences for the family visit www.georgelopesfuneralhome.com
Zoom link information for Tuesday at 6PM
Meeting ID: 885 6386 7209
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Meeting ID: 885 6386 7209
To send flowers to Shirley's family, please visit our floral store.