Cover photo for Shirley Cotton's Obituary
Shirley Cotton Profile Photo
1927 Shirley 2011

Shirley Cotton

July 13, 1927 — July 24, 2011

Shirley Ann DeFreece, one of four children of Paul and Emma DeFreece, was born July 13, 1927 in Lewiston, NE. She grew up on a farm near Auburn, and had many great stories of milking cows, riding horses, and playing circus. Shirley graduated from Auburn High School in 1945.

In 1947, Shirley met her soon to be husband Vern on a bus traveling from Nebraska City to Peru. They began dating and went to many dances around the area. Shirley married Vern on January 28, 1947 in Seneca, KS. The couple was blessed with four children and fostered another. Shirley and Vern raised their family in Peru, until in 1966 when they moved to Humboldt.

Shirley worked at the school in Humboldt as a cook. She enjoyed this job, especially all the kids! Shirley worked for the school for over 20 years. Shirley and Vern came up with a new plan for retirement and that was to run a lunch wagon that traveled from auction to auction selling snacks and lunch. In 1997, they were forced to quit due to Vern?s health. Shirley took care of Vern from that point on but never let it slow her down.

Shirley and Vern bought properties, traveled to Omaha, and spent time with family and friends. Shirley became a regular at the Eagles Club on Pitch night which was one of her favorite ways to pass the time. Shirley was a practical gal and was always looking for a bargain. She loved auctions and could always find a box of treasures and often times would pawn them off on anyone who would take them! Shirley had many friends and loved to visit over a cup of coffee. The core of Shirley?s existence was her family. Being a wife, mother, and grandmother were the hats she liked to wear best.

On Sunday, July 24, 2011 Shirley passed away at the Good Samaritan Society-Auburn having reached the age of 84 years and 11 days. She was well-liked by many and will be remembered as a fun-loving, slightly ornery, foul ball chasing, pile of dirt seeking, caring, wonderful person. Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, son Terry, foster son Fred Shirley, and brother Gene DeFreece.

Survivors include her husband Vern of Auburn; sons Bruce Cotton of Auburn, Dan and wife Cheryl Cotton of Peru; daughter Candace Cotton of Auburn; grandchildren Tim and wife Nancy Olsen of San Jose, CA, Justin Cotton and Ashley of Peru, Cassius and Henry Cotton of Brownville; great-grandchildren Brady and Nolan Olsen, Zy Cotton; sisters Fern Catlett of Auburn, Marilyn and husband Wayne Chase of Auburn; many other relatives and friends.
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