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Today, our hearts are broken as we all mourn the loss of our beloved Shirlene. Her bright light and big heart has gone to be with the Lord, but we will remember her warmth, love, and kindness. Shirlene taught us all some fundamental lessons while she made her journey through life. Of which, the most memorable was to develop a sense of impenetrable generosity. She was a wonderful mother who was always there when we needed her. She also had many friends and was a well-loved member of the community.
The Blessed Life of Shirlene Ross-Gum began Tuesday, January 5, 1954, born to the late Charlie Clark and Florida Ross in Mellwood, Arkansas and was raised by the late Wash Ross. She was the fourth child born to her parents following Rosemary, Charlene, Charlie and Johnny; followed by John, Everette, Henry, Sharon, Mary, Marilyn, and Nina.
Shirlene was a beautiful mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and was loved by so many. Over the years she took on the role of mother for many of her nieces and nephews; she loved them as she loved her own children. She grew up on a farm in Lambrook, Arkansas with her family. Shirlene was reared in a household where Christian values, education, hard work, and the love and support of family were a priority and these attributes became the foundation on which she built her life. During her early years growing up on the farm in Lambrook she worked in the fields, took care of animals, and helped with the canning of foods. Many memorable days were spent with her sisters and brothers. Shirlene was a warm and generous person and would spread her love and care generously. As a young girl she would spend time caring for her younger siblings. Her first love was God, after that she showed her family and friends unconditional love. Shereline seemed to enjoy helping people. After her own children, she had a special place in her heart for all children.
Shirlene grew up in Lambrook and was formally educated in Elaine Public Schools. After school, she remained in the local community as a full time homemaker. Two phenomenal events of her life were the birth of her two children; December 17, 1980~daughter~Vernika Peterson and September 19, 1982,~son~Breon Ross, Sr. She took so much pride in raising and nurturing her children. July 4, 2002 she was united in holy matrimony to Melvin Gum. They were married at the Brooks Chapel M.B. Church by Pastor Artic James. Their families blended and created so many memorable years. Shirlene will forever be remembered by her warm and kind spirit. When it came to caring for others, she would stop and drop everything she was doing to lend a helping hand.
Aside from loving to be with her family, she had many things that she enjoyed doing. Shirlene loved to travel and would spend months vacationing with her daughter and sisters in Michigan. Fishing was one of her most favorite pastimes. She loved gardening and harvesting. She loved growing house plants and had a real green thumb. Most of all, Shirlene was very genuine with the love she showed to family and friends, never meeting a stranger. She had a loving relationship with every member of her family and they will miss her dearly.
At the tender age of 13, Shirlene accepted Christ as her personal Savior and was baptized by water under the leadership of the late Rev. Joe Willie Webb, former pastor of Brooks Chapel M. B. Church in Lambrook, AR. The water baptism took place in Old Town Lake in Lakeview, AR on the 1st Sunday in September, 1967. She was active in her local church throughout her childhood and young adult life. She enjoyed fellowshipping with her church family. Her relationship with God was very visible through her stewardship
She was preceded in death by her Parents, Mother, Florida (Wash) Ross and Father, Charlie Clark, Sr.; Grandson, Brandon Ross; Sisters Rosemary Goodwine, Sharon Johnson; Brothers, Everette Clark, Henry Ross.
She leaves to cherish her memories and forever keep her legacy alive, Husband, Melvin Gum, Lakeview, AR; Daughter, Vernika Peterson, Benton Harbor, MI; Son, Breon Ross, Sr. (Towanna), Helena, AR; Stepson, Joseph Jones, WI; Granddaughters, Mercia Anderson, Marvel, AR; Cariyana Voss, Helena, AR; Grandsons; Kelby Peterson and Simeon Peterson, Benton Harbor, MI; Breon Ross, Jr., Braylon Ross, and Brion Ross, Helena, AR; Sisters, Rose Lee Windless, Detroit, MI; Alie Jackson, Hampton, VA; Missionary Charlene Powell, Saginaw, MI; Mary (Robert) Slater, Memphis, TN; Marilyn (James) Golden, and Nina Ross, Benton Harbor, MI; Brothers, Charlie (Jeanette) Clark, Saginaw, MI; Johnny (Cheryl) Ross, Raytown, TX; John Clark, Saginaw, MI; Sisters-in-law, Jerlester Gordon-Freeman, Marvell, AR; Mary Gum, Juanita Gum, Lakeview, AR, Judie (L. T.) Otey, Lakeview, AR, Virgie (John) Otey, Elaine, AR, Sarah Gum, Memphis, TN; Brothers-in-law, Jackie Gum, Muskogee, OK; Lugene Gum, Lakeview, AR; God Brother, Thomas Brown Jr., Elaine, AR; God Sister, Latunga Brown, Pine Bluff, AR; Aunt Estella Ross-Davis, Helena, AR;, Uncle, Henry (Brenda) Burrell, Helena, AR; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives and friends.
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