Sunday, May 11, 2008
Shirley Mae Winn, 1931-2008
My mother won't be around today to be doted upon on our one day celebration of motherhood. I'll be celebrating nonetheless for the remarkable life she led and the gifts she gave me and my brother and sister.
Shirley Mae Winn passed away two weeks ago in a St. Louis suburb after a courageous battle against cancer.
My mother was a memorable, gutsy, outspoken woman who for many years was a single mother, working downtown during the day and tending to her children's needs at night and on weekends.
She was a leader in the anti-alcohol community in St. Louis for a time as she was dealing with my father's alcohol addiction. Later, she fought the city, state and federal government as they expanded Lambert International Airport and seized the house I grew up in.
She loved to debate politics and religion and was passionate when discussing both.
She watched me play hundreds of football and baseball games in little league, high school and college and was there every time I stumbled in life. My mother was never famous but to me she was better than any movie star or celebrity.
Today, on the day we celebrate mothers everywhere, I am sad that I can't pick up the phone and call mine. I'm happy in knowing that Shirley Mae Winn led a productive and successful life, meaning that she was a successful mother. I was blessed.