A photo of Shirley M. Branden

Shirley M. Branden

October 13, 1936 - July 29, 2022

Shirley M. Branden, age 85, of Newark, DE, passed away on Friday, July 29, 2022.

Born in Crane Creek, MO, on October 13, 1936, she was a daughter of the late Lester and Lorene (Miller) Meadows. Shirley received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and later went on to earn three  Master of Arts degrees in Spanish, Library Science and English. She began her career teaching Spanish before making the switch to library science. Shirley then worked as a medical librarian in Nebraska, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida before moving to Delaware in early 1986.  The majority of her career was spent at the University of Delaware Morris Library, where she served as Head of Reference from early 1986 until her retirement in 2013.

Shirley was a longtime member of the American Library Association and a loyal supporter of the University of Delaware Theater Program and Resident Ensemble Players (REP). An avid traveler, Shirley visited many countries including Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Austria, Germany, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, India, Canada, Iceland, France, Italy, Kenya, Turkey, Morocco, Spain, and Portugal. She also visited every state in the U.S. with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, and North Dakota. Her favorite cities were New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, London, Paris, and Sydney. Shirley and her daughter, Jane, traveled all over the world together and made frequent trips to New York to shop, go to movies, and to attend the Metropolitan Opera. Shirley was a lifelong book enthusiast who was keenly interested in the works of William Morris, Anthony Trollope, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. A true animal lover, she had many cherished cats including Quito, named for the capital city of Ecuador. She also loved horses and even made a special trip to Kentucky where she met both Seattle Slew and Affirmed. Shirley was a devoted Anglophile and Francophile and loved British comedies, particularly the works of Dame Penelope Keith.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, Denis Meadows; nephews Chris and Jacob Meadows; and beloved friend and daughter’s godfather, Stephen Love. She is survived by her daughter, Jane A. Branden; sister, Joyce Anne Sorbet; brothers, John, Mark and Roger Meadows; and  numerous nieces and nephews.

Services and interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Shirley’s memory to Wildlife Warriors USA Inc., P.O. Box 11347, Eugene, OR 97440 or click here; The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, P.O. Box 834, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 or click here; or to The Resident Ensemble Players, 110 Orchard Road, Newark, DE 19716 or click here.

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7 Condolences for Shirley M. Branden

  • Jane, I was so sad to hear of the passing of your Mom. Shirley was a real supporter of me at the Library and had advocated for me to become a department head, even though I had only worked at UD less than five years. When she retired, I was interim over her beloved Reference dept. Since her retirement, we would meet for lunch every so often at the Waffle House where we always ordered the same thing and we’d catch up on her travels and what she was missing at the Library. She also talked about what you were up to Jane. Your Mom loved you very much. I hadn’t seen her since the start of the pandemic. May you find peace and comfort in the joy of your memories, Shelly

  • My first job at the University of Delaware Library was in the Reference office. Shirley was a kind person and I enjoyed talking to her. After her retirement, I’d see her sometimes at an event on campus and we would catch up. I’m sorry to hear of her passing. My condolences to Jane and the rest of the family.

  • Rest in peace dear Aunt Shirley.

  • Always a great visit when cousin Shirley came home for a visit. I loved to sit & listen to her talk . So knowledgeable & had a great since of humor. Always gracious, nice & kind.

  • So sorry to hear about Shirley. Love your tribute to her life. Wish I would have had the pleasure of knowing her more than just the one time at Lorene’s birthday.

  • Shirley and our cousin Darlene may have been “tapped out” by the same angle since they both lived such wonderful lives.
    They may now be together sharing celestial activities. Born in Missouri I enjoyed annual trips back to where my parents grew up as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins. Such a privilege it has been to know, although not well, my gifted, loving, contributing extended family.

  • What an amazing person. I remember her she was my eighth grade teacher at a country school Clay Hill outside Aurora, Mo.
    My condolences to all.