Haverhill, MA — Shirley G. Parham, 92, of Pomona, Calif., formerly of Haverhill, died Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at Plott Nursing Center, Ontario, Calif., after complications from illness.
Born in Somerville, she was the daughter of Arthur G. Gray and Mabel I. (Davis) Gray. Raised in Roxbury, Winchester, and Lawrence, she was a graduate of Lawrence High School, Class of 1939, and MacIntosh Business College. After marrying Lewis G. Parham, Sr. of Dracut, Shirley resided in Haverhill until relocating to Pomona, Calif., in 2010 and lived with her daughter and family. She was employed for the former A. T. & T. Co., and retired as a program planner from Lucent Technologies in 1981.
She was an avid musical student and performer studying vocal performance with local piano and vocal teacher Louise Zink of Haverhill, and continued her studies in Boston at the Berklee School of Music. Shirley started singing in church, performed as feature singer on a local Haverhill Radio call-in request show, competed in Boston TV talent shows, and donated her vocal talent to many local and national charitable groups and organizations throughout her life. Her musical pinnacle was to try out and be invited to perform with the original production of The Most Happy Fella on Broadway.
She is survived by her daughter, Linda J. Wheeler and her husband, Robert, of Pomona, Calif.; one cherished grandchild, Laura J. Barnes; two great grandchildren, Daniel S. Barnes, IV, and Joshua Barnes, also of Pomona, Calif.; three brothers, Arthur Gray and his wife Carol, Salem, N.H., Robert E. Gray, Lawrence, Mass., Henry Gray, Salem, N.H.; two sisters, Marjorie Bibeau, Homasassa, Fla., Pearl H. Roy, South Windsor, Conn., and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Her son Lewis G. Parham, Jr., brother, Richard Gray, two sisters, Dorothy Boragine, and Louise Strickland, predeceased her.
ARRANGEMENTS: Friends and family are invited to call on Sunday, April 21, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Kevin B. Comeau Funeral Home, 486 Main St., Haverhill, Mass. Burial is private in the Elmwood Cemetery, Methuen. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made in her name, to the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library, 175 N Beacon St., Watertown, MA, 02472. Please visit Comeau Funeral Home on Facebook.