Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church
3901 North Star Road
Richardson, Texas 75082
After a long illness, Shirley Broome Pittman passed away in her sleep in the early morning hours of Friday, May 29, 2020.
Shirley was born in Amarillo, Texas, on April 11, 1936. After graduating from Amarillo High School, home of the Sandies, she attended the University of Oklahoma, where in 1954 she graduated with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. While a student at OU, she was elected state president of the Oklahoma Future Teachers of America. She also was a lifetime member of the Delta Gamma sorority, and was proud to maintain her DG friendships throughout her life.
After graduating from OU, she met Lewis Stanley Pittman. After a handful of dates during a furious two-week romance, Shirley and Stan were married and initially moved to Winchester, Kentucky, where Stan first began working in the petroleum industry. That was followed by a time in Bridgeport, West Virginia, where Shirley presided over a class of what was then known as the “educable retarded,” teaching them schoolwork and whatever life skills she could, so they could later better make their way in the world. The children were all from poor families, so Shirley saved what extra money she could to buy them some lunches and an occasional pair of shoes, as some of them had none. One afternoon after school, a student’s father confronted her, putting the shoes she bought for his son on her desk, stating, “My kid don’t need charity.” Shirley pushed the shoes back to him across her desk and said, “Maybe not, but he sure needs shoes.”
Not long after, Shirley and Stan moved to Abilene, Texas. After discovering they could not have children of their own, they adopted Edward Cleveland Pittman in August 1963, the first of their three adopted children. A year and a half later, in 1965, they received a call from the adoption home; and they were soon on their way to adopt Charles Clay Pittman. The family also included Lucky, a Sheltie, and Mama Kitty, the first of many family pets over the years.
Stan was next transferred to the Dallas area, and the family settled in Richardson. In 1970, Shirley and Stan adopted Frances Margaret Pittman, and the family was complete. Over the years, more cats and dogs followed, instilling in the children an enduring love and sense of responsibility for caring for companion animals.
While Stan had a long career in the petroleum industry, Shirley spent her time teaching at such schools as Canyon Creek Daycare and, later, a decades-long devotion to private tutoring. Her tutoring students were primarily the children of Chinese immigrants, and Shirley spent her years not only teaching them to speak English, but helping them to learn what it meant to be an American. In addition to receiving many heartfelt gifts from grateful families, Shirley – often called Missy Pittman – was often invited to former students’ college graduations, weddings and citizenship ceremonies, as her students became American citizens.
On December 27, 2013, Shirley and the rest of the Pittman family were overjoyed to welcome Francie’s son, Benjamin, into the world.
Shirley was always known for her sage advice, which she shared only when asked, and her infectious laugh, often described more as a cackle. In her last years, Shirley struggled with Alzheimer’s. Although her short-term memories often quickly faded, she always asked about everyone’s children and pets, and she freely expressed her love to anyone who came close enough to hug.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ed and Frances Broome, as well as her son Charles. She will be remembered by her husband Stan, her son Edward and his wife, Michelle Koller; her daughter Francie and her son Ben; Leslie Farnham and Alison Gross, the children of her cousin Richard Gross; the many others she touched during her lifelong legacy of teaching; and a few lifelong friends (as well as their children) who still remain.
In lieu of flowers or other forms of remembrance, please consider making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Published on Thursday, May 27, 2021 @ 7:45 PM CDT