A Time to Be Born and Learn
Life’s sunrise for Earline Woods Shorter was September 9, 1927, to the late Walter Woods and Ella Ardelia Wightman Woods in Noble Lake, AR. Walter died when Earline was eight years old in the Spring of 1935 of “the fever”. Six months later her mother died of the same illness. Earline and her siblings were adopted by her Aunt & Uncle, Gussie and Ideary Stewart and moved to Wilmot, AR. She attended Elementary and High School in the Ladd School System. She also attended AM&N College (UAPB).
At the age of 16, she moved to Pine Bluff, AR to live with her sister & brother-in-law, Pauline & Jessie Woolfolk. There she met her lifelong loving companion, her “BOAZ,” Curlee Shorter, Sr. They were married within six months of meeting, on Christmas Eve 1944. Pastor C.H. Warren, Kings Highway Pastor then, performed the ceremony. She was 17 and he was 20. Many sought her counsel on mastering life challenges.
A Time to Be Reborn
Earline accepted Christ at an early age and was baptized at New St. James Church in Fairfield, AR. She became a member of Mt. Pleasant AME Church, when she moved to Pine Bluff in 1944, and remained a faithful member for 78 years. She served faithfully under the leadership of Reverends: H. Ralph Jackson, D.L. Blair, C.M. May, R.J. Hampton, David Arlington Talbot, Ben S, Grinage, Carroll Anderson, O.Z., Horn, A.S. Johnson, Ulman Tyler, C.D. Rogers, F.T. Gooden, Reginald Cleaver, Kent J. Broughton, R.W. Alexander, Sr. Over the years Mother Shorter was a member of Women’s Church School Class #1, Senior Choir, Women’s Missionary Society, Stewardess Board, Trustee Helpers, Pastor’s Aide Club, Church Anniversary Committees and Women’s Day Committees. Some of her many honors were: The Pine Bluff Helena District as member of the Circle of Wisdom and she was also honored by her church family as “Senior Servant” and as a “Golden Club” Member.
A Time to Plant and Nurture
Earline worked at Diamond Alkalide, Oak Flooring, Pine Bluff Arsenal, and she was a maid. She was well known and respected in her community for her nurturing spirit and huge “cafeteria size” pots of food. Although her home once housed 20 family members, she ALWAYS had enough food to offer a plate to anyone who visited. The community all called her Moma Shorter. When her husband became totally blind, she led him through the house by teaching him to hold on to her wheelchair. Her favorite pastime was watching the OWN Network. She loved Oprah and Dr. Phil. Her home was filled with laughter, singing, praying, good food, and praising God. People entering her home often felt like they were in the middle of a church service. She made everyone feel special and wanted everyone to be sure of their soul’s salvation. Her children affectionately called her “THE QUEEN OF 2109”, her address for 74 years. She was quiet and bashful until you said or did something negative to one of her children. Her favorite line was, “I don’t have no bad children. They may make some bad decisions but that doesn’t make them a bad child. I gave birth to 13 and I don’t have a bad one in the bunch.”
Mother was a champion for the less fortunate. She was known for taking in “the bottle man” on the street or the child who seemed hungry or needed a pair of shoes or clothing. She was always willing to lend a helping hand whenever needed. As a wife she was adored by and she adored her husband. They were the perfect team teaching the family to always stay together and support each other. For 75 years she and her husband led their children and others to Christ. They were the light in the community that many sought their counseling, comfort and healing.
A Time to Die
On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, Earline answered the call of her Lord and Savior at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Corlis (Herbert) Fitzpatrick in Red Oak, TX. She joined her parents, her loving husband of 75 years, Curlee Shorter, Sr., her four children: Curlee Shorter, Jr., Robert Shorter, Carolyn Shorter Bennett and Rev. Earl Carl Shorter; brothers: James Woods, Arthur Woods, Jasper Stewart (Emma), Able Stewart (Marie), Ideary Stewart, Jr., sisters: Pearline Woods Smith, Pauline Stewart Woolfolk (Rev Jessie) three grandsons: Jermaine, Solomon Jason and Timothy Shorter, one granddaughter, Kendrea Washington; her beloved daughter-in-law, Phyllis Beatrice Stewart Shorter and son-in-law, Carl Edward Blackwell.
A Time to Honor the Legacy
Earline leaves to cherish her life five sons – Walter James Shorter, Sr., of Pine Bluff, AR, Leon Ulyssius Shorter (Lavenia) of Milwaukee, WI, Curtis Jerome Shorter, Sr. of Dallas, TX, Nathaniel Shorter (Heidi) of Tacoma, WA and William Jeffery Shorter, Sr. of Washington, DC; four daughters – Corlis Shorter Fitzpatrick (Herbert) and Ella Shorter of Red Oak, TX, Jacqueline Shorter Blackwell and Stephanie LaNae Shorter O’Bryant (Maurice) of Pine Bluff, AR; Three legally adopted grandchildren; Domonique Jones Shorter, Tyrone Jackson Shorter and Eric Martese Shorter, 98 grandchildren, 182 great-grandchildren and 57 great-great-grandchildren who love and cherish her memory. A host of loving nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends will also miss her.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
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