Shirley Brethauer (nee Ullmann) passed away peacefully at home in St Louis, Missouri on Thursday, August 13, 2020 surrounded by her children. Shirley, the older of two sisters, was born on April 23, 1928 in Cincinnati, Ohio to the late Edwin and Rose (nee Yentsch) Ullmann. Her younger sister Doris Esslinger currently resides in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Shirley developed a love of music at an early age and enjoyed playing the violin with her father. Shirley was named valedictorian of the Madeira (Ohio) High School Class of ’46. She performed a violin solo of Bach/Gounod’s “Ave Maria” at the commencement. In 1950 she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio.
Shirley met her future husband Herbert A. Brethauer while both were attending Heidelberg College. They were married at St. Peter's Evangelical and Reformed Church in Cincinnati on September 16, 1950. Herb decided to make a career as an Air Force Chaplain and their travels around the world began! Shirley was blessed with four children during this period: Douglas, Steven, Marilyn, and Gloria. Gloria was born in Istanbul, Turkey while Herb was assigned to a base there. Then in 1979, after 24 years Herb retired from the Air Force and began a 20-year ministry at Carondelet United Church of Christ in St. Louis. Shirley was an active force in the church even after Herb’s death in 2001. By then her family had grown to include grandchildren and then later a great-grandchild.
Shirley was the author of a family biography entitled “Around the World in My Own Bed” which chronicles the family’s adventures including 12 military moves in 24 years.
Shirley had a quiet strength and a strong heart. She has always been an inspiration to us. She led a loving, caring, Christian life that was a positive influence on everyone around her.
Shirley was an excellent cook who prepared many memorable family dinners. She was a master of numerous handicrafts, a tireless organizer, talented musician, avid reader, great mom and beloved grandmother.
After her death, a piece of paper was found upon which she had written: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” -- Dr. Suess.