Shirley Maria Toliver was born in Watervliet, Michigan on May 3, 1947 to Fred Dunn and Elizabeth Peoples. She was adopted a few weeks later by Simon and Mary Bruton of Covert, Michigan, who lovingly reared her to adulthood.
Shirley met her husband, John Henry Toliver during her childhood while growing up in Covert, MI. They married November 9, 1968 and settled in Covert, MI, where they reared their six children.
Shirley received her diploma from South Haven Public Schools. She worked numerous jobs throughout her life-time; her passion was working as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant and teacher’s aide at various elementary schools throughout Covert and South Haven Districts. She continued her work as a teacher’s aide locally in South Haven, MI, until her illness. She relished her role as a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother and was loved dearly by all of them. All who knew and loved her could easily attest to the fact that she had “the patience of a saint,” was always supportive, encouraging, wise, kind, and extremely proud to be a mother, grandmother, church mother, dear friend, and a child of God. Her love for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren had no boundaries. Her commitment to her friends, extended family, church, and God was unwavering in its loyalty.
Shirley was introduced to Christ at Lee’s Temple in Covert, MI under the leadership of the late J.S. Lee. In 2006, Shirley recommitted her life to Christ when she joined Resurrection Life Ministries, under the leadership of Pastor, Joe Wilkins, Sr., affectionately known as her “5th son.” She was a dedicated church mother, who was commonly referred to by her church family as “Mother Bruton.” The members of Resurrection Life Ministries became a second family to her and she loved them dearly.
Shirley will be remembered as a devoted mother, who always smiled, even when times were tough. She had a quiet strength. She never complained and always looked to a better future. She was the epitome of grace even during the toughest of times, until God called His angel home.
Shirley departed this life June 7, 2018 surrounded by her six children. She was preceded in death by her biological parents, Fred Dunn and Elizabeth Peoples; adoptive parents, Simon and Mary Bruton; husband, John Henry Toliver; brother, Alvin Johnson, and sister, Betty Jean Small.
Shirley leaves to cherish her memories: sons, Rueben Eugene Bruton (Roxanne), Leaman Bruton (Sabina), John DeCarlos Toliver (Kristin), and Willie Jamar Toliver (Zanetta); daughters, Cheri Ann Richardson (Ron) and Mary Joann Bruton; daughters-in-law, Sharon Wilburn and Charlotte Bruton; special daughter, Patrice Strong; special friend, Lena Strong, and special nieces, Dorothy Razor and Meril Goodwin. In addition, she is also survived by 19 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, godchildren, friends, and other extended family. She will truly be missed.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7