Shirley Clara (Blesener) Bryant was born April 2, 1924 in Duluth, Minnesota to parents Alfred and Clara (Kreisel) Blesener. She was the fifth of six children. She lived independently until the pandemic. Shirley Clara Bryant died peacefully surrounded by family on June 24, 2021.
Shirley was a graduate of the class of 1943 from Duluth Central High School. During World War II, Shirley sewed for the US military at a factory on Michigan Street. At age 18, Shirley traveled to visit Don who was stationed in the US Navy in Lawrence, Kansas, and married Don on March 13, 1943.
She was the original re-cycler. Living through the Great Depression, she learned how to “make do”, re-use, and re-purpose everything that came her way. Those traits remained with her all of her life as she graced articles with a second and third life.
Shirley loved to laugh and loved the laughter of children even more --all of them--anyone’s. She was an additional mother to anyone who needed or wanted one. She also loved crafting, reading, and especially sewing. As a young woman she sewed beautiful custom-fitted clothing for her children, suits, prom and wedding dresses, Halloween costumes, and countless craft items.
Faith was important to Shirley. She was an active member of St. Anthony’s and then St. Francis church, where she was a dedicated volunteer. She also worked at European Bakery and was a consistent volunteer at her children’s schools as room parent and Girl Scout leader.
She loved so much to be in the middle of a huge family party and just enjoy the energy and love that surrounded her. Though shy, she was a willing participant in any game--often winning. She was a gracious hostess, good listener and soft shoulder to cry on. She had loving arms to envelop the sad, joyful, grieving, celebratory or just about anyone who needed a hug.
Shirley is preceded in death by her loving husband Marshall (Donald) Bryant; her infant son Daniel James Bryant, her siblings; Cyril, Audrey, Burnadette, and Donald (Jim). She is survived by her brother Ray Blesener, her children Mary Clara (Bruce) Rogers, Marsha Cain, Margaret Josephson (Chuck Pfisthner), Colleen Bryant (Jim Melander), Kathy (Bruce) Mattila, Janet (Steve) Chapman, John (Kim) Bryant, 18 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and counting, and many dear nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Monday, July 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Dougherty Funeral Home 600 E 2nd St. Duluth MN and will continue from 9:00am to the 10:00am Mass of Christian Burial at St. Francis Church, 509 Sunrise Drive, Carlton, MN A luncheon will be served. Graveside services will follow at Melrude Cemetery at 1:45 p.m. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 218-727-3555. Please visit www.dfhduluth.com to sign the online guestbook.
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