Shirley Mae Tyus was born on July 10, 1940, in Cleveland, Ohio. She passed away on December 12, 2022, in Roseville, California at the age of 82. Shirley was preceded in death by her parents Martha and James Ford, and only sister Lillie Ford Williams.
Shirley was the eldest of six children. During the early years in Cleveland, she kept watch and dotted on her siblings. She is survived by her four brothers: James Copeland (Camille), Clarence Copeland (Janise), Robert Ford (Wanda), and Cornell Ford (Lisa).
Following her desire to become an executive secretary, she attended John Hay High School which was renowned for clerical excellence. Shirley âLittle Bitâ was also a sprinter on the track team. In 1959, Shirley graduated with honors, and to her credit could type over 100 wpm. Speed was her thing!
During her teen years, Shirley united with Shiloh Baptist Church where she served on the Usher Board. She was a faithful member until joining Starlight Baptist Church (East Cleveland, OH) in 1974 and Faith Fellowship Church (North Highlands, CA) in 1999. Shirley loved serving Godâs church and was an active usher for well over six decades.
In 1963, Shirley married John Tyus and they moved to East Cleveland to raise their two daughters. Shirley loved making a beautiful home and helping her family flourish in every way. She had a deep appreciation for the arts, literacy, music, and baseball. So much so, she and the girls enrolled in every library program and the house was always filled with soulful ballads, gospel greats, the 50âs âdoo-wopsâ, and latest R&B hits. Music and enthusiasm in the girlsâ interests encouraged her to be a trusted chaperone and fan of the Shaw High School Marching Cardinals. For five seasons, she never missed a parade or performance!
Shirley was very invested in educational success and served as PTA District President and secretary for many years. From 1968 to 1974, she served as a lunchroom aide and teacherâs assistant at Mayfair Elementary School. With her mind (and skills) ever fixed on a clerical career, Shirley applied for a secretarial position with the Board of Education. She got that job and proved her ambition. In 1998, she retired from her longtime position of Administrative Assistant to the Director of Special Education.
To be close to the girls and grandsons, soon after retirement, Shirley boarded a train for California. With much energy unspent, she pursued her passion to serve by volunteering at Loaves & Fishes homeless sanctuary and was a Head Usher at the Sacramento Community Theatre and a Guest Services Attendant at Sacramentoâs Raley Field for over 20 years. We will never know a more avid theater lover, River Cats (and Cleveland Indians) fan!
Shirley had a passion for travel and adventure. Through the years, she toured countless states, sailed to several shores, got drenched on water rides and mounted an elephant. Some of her fondest memories were the trips to the Kentucky Derby, sightseeing in the Big Apple, and visits to Disney with the grandchildren. When she was not busy being busy, she loved her quiet time watching movie classics and crime dramas. At those times, she and the TV remote were inseparable.
Mommy cherished life, her family, friends, and precious pup âLucky.â Because of her enduring love, our lives are rich beyond measure.
Left to hold her memory is devoted daughters: Tonya Tyus Parker and Sherdina Tyus Thomas; caring sons-in-law: Terry Parker and Grover Thomas; loving grandchildren: Torrean & Melissa Tyus, Tevin Tyus, and Serena Tyus; incredible great-grandchildren: Hali, Derrick, Tevin II, Nova, and True; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends.
Condolences and expressions may also be sent to the family at:
The Shirley Tyus Family
1201 Canevari Drive
Roseville, California 95747
We are sincerely thankful for you, your prayers and support.