Shirley Neilson

Obituary of Shirley Neilson

 It is with broken hearts that the family of Shirley Selina Neilson announce her passing which occurred Tuesday July 13, 2021, at the Saint John Regional Hospital, after a brief battle with cancer. Shirley was born August 30,1927 in Montreal Quebec. She was the younger daughter of Edward and Gladys (Munford) Massey.

Shirley graduated from Saint John Vocational School in June of 1948. Following graduation she enrolled at Sick Kids’ Hospital, Toronto Ontario, in the nursing program. Mum was followed to Toronto by her soon to be Husband, William E. Neilson and they were married there on August 13th,1949.

Shirley evolved from a 1950’s homemaker and Mother into a 1980’s businesswoman. She opened and was the manager of both the Keddy’s Hotel dining room and later, the Top of The Town. In the early 1980’s Mum was the first manager of Hayward & Warwick’s store in Market Square. She held this position until her retirement in 1996. Mum was a meticulous housekeeper, seamstress capable of creating gowns, suits, and coats. She also was a gifted cook and pastry chef. Mum also invested in her community as a member and past president of the Women’s Branch of the Progressive Conservative Party, and she was a devoted Sunday school teacher.

Shirley Neilson was a woman of Grace and Dignity. Her outward beauty was a mere reflection of her kindness, her inability to knowingly cause hurt and or pain to any living thing. Her sense of calm and fairness was unmatched.

In addition to her parents, Shirley was pre-deceased by her husband of 53 years, Bill, sister Evelyn Pickersgill,  Niece April Skinner, Nephew Guy Crick, Great-Nephew David Thyr, and dear friend of 60 years, Florence Cosman. Shirley was the last surviving member of her immediate generation. She is survived by her daughter C. Patricia Justason (Fraser), her son, W. Andrew Neilson (Stephanie). Her Grandchildren, Neil Hirsch (Heather), Heidi Martin (Rene), Ailana Musiyenko (Max), and Kevin Neilson. Precious and much adored Great Grandchildren, Craig Hunt, Erika Martin, Matthew Martin, Alexander Martin, Selena Musiyenko and Olivia Hirsch. Niece Robin Thyr and her daughters Melissa Thorne, and Sarah Thyr. Great nephew Heath Skinner (Sophie). As Shirley’s family we owe a special Thank You to Wes Cosman who brought light and laughter and happiness to Mum’s final years.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Brenan’s Funeral Home, 111 Paradise Row, Saint John, NB (634-7424) The Funeral will be held at the Church of The Resurrection, Grand bay-Westfield on Tuesday August 3rd, 2PM.  Interment to follow in Fernhill Cemetery. Donations may be made to the Church of The Resurrection or to a charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be placed at

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