On Wednesday morning, September 16, 2020, Shirley Cogburn, cherished wife, beloved aunt, and devoted friend passed peacefully in The Solace House of the Ozarks, Joplin, Missouri, at the age of 76. Shirley was born in Broken Bow to the late Jesse and Henryetta (Jefferson) James on March 22, 1944. Shirley was married to Howard Cogburn on December 31, 1980 in Laredo, Mexico. They were married for 40 years, traveled, and lived throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Influenced early in life by Dr. Thomas Rhea, mentor and friend, set Shirley on a path of life-long service in helping those less fortunate. In 1964 at 20 years old, she began her illustrious nursing career as an LPN, and continued working her way up the career ladder, graduating with a BSN from Mount Marty College in 1980. Shirley held many leadership roles during her nursing profession, which included being medical support for the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the late 1960’s, to serving as an Officer in the US Army Nurse Corps Reserve (1991-1999) teaching and training personnel, Charge Nurse, Instructor and Educator, and Director of Nursing. Shirley was an exemplary Registered Nurse and dedicated 53 years to caring for others and teaching many upcoming nurses along the way. What was so brilliant about Shirley is how she consistently showed up, in her work and personal life without pomp and fanfare. She was constant. Little did Shirley know she performed miracles every day with her caring acts. The kindness and compassion that she showed people from all walks of life is a testament to her devotion and dedication she had in ensuring people were treated well and with dignity.
Shirley has been a pillar to her family and friends. She was a confidant, advisor, role model, loving aunt, and grilled cheese maker extraordinaire-to name a few of her gifts. She had a generous heart as well as a laugh that was as full and contagious. In addition to always being available to family and friends, it is a well-known fact there was not a stray cat she didn’t try to help or a dog to befriend-just another example of her caring nature. She was thrifty when it came to herself but generous to those in need. Shirley enjoyed a tall glass of iced tea and swore by Vaseline being the cure for rough feet. She believed in not letting the gas go below half tank when traveling and to stop before it got dark. Shirley was a consummate reader and held firm that old fashion letter writing beats texting any day. She was right. A letter from her was an unexpected joy. Shirley is forever imprinted on our hearts, and supremely missed by her family and friends.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse and Henryetta James, her sister Kathy, her brothers Cecil and Jonas, and Aunt Minnie.
Shirley is survived by her husband, Howard, bonus sons, Luke and Kelly, Aunt Rhoda, many loving nieces and nephews, cousins, and extended family.
Memorial donations in Shirley’s name may be made to Solace House of the Ozarks, PO Box 4467, Joplin, Missouri, 64803. The family wishes to send a special thank you to the wonderful volunteer staff at Solace House of the Ozarks who gave Shirley such loving care in her time of need.
A Celebration of Life Service will be Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 10AM at the Old School Baptist Church at Nanih Chito, Smithville. Burial will follow at Nanih Chito Cemetery.
Visitation will be Monday, September 21, 2020 from 6-8PM at Brumley Funeral Home.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley Cogburn, please visit our floral store.