Shirley Mae Sterrett

October 4, 1930 ~ June 12, 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old


Shirley Mae (Carson) Sterrett was born October 4, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois to the late Frank and Elizabeth (Veal) Carson.

Shirley spent most of her youth between Joliet, Illinois and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended school in both cities, completing her schooling at Joliet High School in 1946.

Shirley was united in marriage to Lee C. Buchanan Sr. in 1946, and from that union she birthed two children, Mary Louise (Buchanan) Martin, and Lee C. Buchanan Jr.

Shirley moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1952 where she was united in marriage to Howard L. Sterrett Sr. (deceased) to which six children were born: Maurice, Sharon, Yvonne, Howard Jr., Lori, and Yvette.

Shirley worked as a waitress and factory worker up until 1962 when she was employed as a housekeeper at Mount Sinai Hospital. Due to the wear and tear on her body she had to find a different type of work. She worked as a part-time mail clerk and mail carrier while attending courses at Tri C (Cuyahoga Community College), obtaining her GED and certificate for social services.

Shirley continued to further advance her knowledge of Social Services by Attending Case Western Reserve University, where she obtained numerous certificates of training through the President's Office of Aging in Washington, DC. Upon completion in 1971, she began working in the Adult Services Department for Cuyahoga County Welfare Department as a Geriatric Outreach Worker. She was later promoted to the position of Field Supervisor in the Homemakers Department, which oversaw the Home Health Services for the elderly. In addition to her work caring for the elderly she also rendered her social service skills at the Jeffrey Heard AIDS Center as a coordinator and advocate for HIV- AIDS patients, working with Social Agencies to obtain health care, housing, and other services as needed.

Shirley retired in 1993, but her passion and love for service and people lead her to volunteer work at Richmond Heights Medical Center where she faithfully served for nineteen years, delivering newspapers to patient rooms, providing information at the front desk, operating the switchboard, as well as transporting patients to various departments throughout the hospital. She was well known and loved by the staff and became an integral part of the daily operations until she retired from her service in 2015.

Shirley at an early age became aware of her need for a relationship with Christ. She came into fellowship and was baptized at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Joliet, Illinois under the pastorate of Rev. John Alston. After moving to Cleveland, she became a member of Saint Phillips Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Cecil Marshall. She later transferred her Membership to The Church of The Living God under the pastorate of Rev. Carr. In 1970 she became an active member of Cleveland Church of Christ under the leadership of Bishop James Haughton Sr. She was a licensed missionary, Sunday school teacher and a member of the senior choir, usher board, and the national women's council of Churches of Our Lord in Jesus Christ. She was also a member of the outreach services for the church where she conducted AA meetings and Toastmasters group meetings. In 1998 Shirley left Cleveland Church of Christ and became a part of End Times Ministry of Deliverance under the pastorate of her daughter Pastor Yvette Coleman. She was dedicated and committed to the vision of the house and was appointed as the church mother. She attended church faithfully engaging in the worship of the Lord until her health failed.

Shirley who was affectionately known as " Nanny" was a woman full of faith, compassion, humility, and love. She loved sewing and holiday gatherings with her family. She loved her family and dedicated her entire life to keeping them together. Along with raising her own children she also took in any child that was in need and became a mother figure to them. She demonstrated her love for Christ through the way she loved others. She opened her heart and her doors to anyone who was in need.

Shirley transitioned from her earthly house to her heavenly home June 12, 2023, surrounded by her family, after suffering from a lengthy illness. Shirley was preceded in death by her father Frank Carson, mother Elizabeth Veal, daughter Mary (Buchanan) Martin, and grandson Eric Brown. She leaves to mourn her passing: her brother Nathaniel Carson of Joliet, IL; sons, Lee Buchanan, Richmond Heights, OH, Maurice Sterrett (Mattie), Euclid, OH, and Howard Sterrett, Jr. (Jo Anne), Shaker Heights, OH; daughters, Sharon Sterrett Sharp, Macedonia, OH, Yvonne Drake, Willoughby, OH, Lori Williams (James), Matthews, NC and Yvette Coleman (Clement) Cleveland Heights, OH. Her legacy will continue through her twenty-one grandchildren, nineteen great grandchildren, and nine great, great grandchildren.

Shirley also leaves behind cousins, nieces, nephews, and a church family that loved and adored her. She will be remembered by so many friends and members in the body of Christ that loved and cherished her as the "Queen" she truly was.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley Mae Sterrett, please visit our floral store.

 Service Program

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Public Viewing
June 20, 2023

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Watson's Funeral Home
10913 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106

Funeral Service
June 21, 2023

10:00 AM
Lee Memorial AME
861 East 105th Street
Cleveland, OH 44108

Video is available for this event


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