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Shirley Christine Pearson

October 3, 1929 ~ July 16, 2018 (age 88)
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Shirley Christine Pearson, 88, of Boca Raton, FL, passed away peacefully on July 16.  Shirley was born on October 3, 1929, in Boston, MA, the only child of Swedish immigrants Mildred & Elof Friberg.  She was preceded in death by her husband William F. (Bill) Pearson in 2001 and her son Peter Pearson in 1981 and is survived by her daughter Gayle Varney (Rick) and beloved granddaughters, Alyssa and Caitlyn Varney.

Shirley studied nursing at Upsala College in Cambridge, MA; and on April 12, 1953 she married William Pearson, also in Cambridge. In 1966 they moved their young family from Massachusetts to Boca Raton, Florida, where Bill began his 25-year career with the Boca Raton Fire Department.  It didn't take them long to establish what would become a lifelong connection to Advent Lutheran Church in Boca Raton, where they immediately became active members of the young and growing congregation.  Although Shirley had completed all of the requirements for her nursing degree (1948-51), a conflicting family commitment prevented her from attending her graduation so she never officially received her diploma.  She nevertheless left school well prepared and immediately began to combine her nursing training with her compassionate and giving nature as she volunteered her time at Advent Lutheran Church, where she was the driving force behind the establishment of an affiliated Christian school.  One of the original founders of Advent Lutheran Elementary & Middle School, Shirley was considered the be the "Voice of Advent" by her colleagues.  She was employed by the school in various administrative capacities as well as the school nurse until 1992, when she retired after 20 years of dedicated service.

Shirley also loved to shop, cook, and entertain, and she especially enjoyed decorating for the holidays and celebrating in the Swedish tradition.  Her festive dinner parties were always and excuse to polish the silver and break out the fine china, and she loved it!  She also adored her two granddaughters, Alyssa and Caitlyn Varney, and could always be found attending their sporting or academic events.

In addition to her daughters family, she is survived by her cousin Mark (Elizabeth) Wheeler and children Sarah and Daniel; cousin Claire Chalmers; cousin Lee (Lisa) Chalmers and their sons Chip (Miranda), Matthew (Sarah), and Andrew; David (Amy) Chalmers and son Scott; cousin Jane (Andy) Hauser and daughters Elizabeth (David) Silverman, Ivy, Emily, and Jessica; cousin Tommy (Danielle) Baker and children Kaylee and Zach; cousin Jon (Ginger) Johnson and daughters Andrea, Kelly, and Betsy; Scott and Freddie (Varney) Christie and their children Katherine and Matthew, as well as countless loving members of her extended family, friends, and colleagues, all of whom will miss her dearly.

A memorial service will be held on August 5 at Advent Lutheran Church, 300 East Yamato Road, Boca Raton, FL.  Visitation will begin at 12:00 noon, followed by a 12:30 PM memorial service and light reception in the Fellowship Hall immediately afterward.  In lieu of flowers, please consider continuing Shirley's legacy by making a donation to the Advent Lutheran Elementary & Middle School Scholarship Fund.

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