Story about Shirley Daskow, mother of Mamie Segall, published in her obituary in Madison, Wisconsin.
When Shirley Daskow was 9, she was riding her bike in her South Milwaukee hometown with a precious nickel in her hand for an ice-cream cone, when a car hit her. She was rushed to a hospital, but wasn’t hurt; held on to that nickel; and got that cone.
Shirley loved to tell that story and her four children and eight grandchildren loved to hear it because it was emblematic of the strength and spirit with which she lived her 93 1/2 years, and of her lifelong love of ice cream, especially Dairy Queen Dilly Bars and Babcock butter pecan and chocolate turtle.
Shirley developed that strength and spirit living with four half brothers and three half sisters in a four- bedroom, one-bathroom home in the back of the grocery store run by her parents, Harry and Bella Wasserman, Jewish immigrants from Russia. Shirley, who was born on May 18, 1926 and died peacefully on Jan. 1, 2020, was the youngest of the eight children, and the only child of Harry and Bella, from whom she learned to be resilient.
She said of the house: “I shared one of the bedrooms when I was growing up with my sisters. There were two to a bed. And I felt sort of comfortable with that. You know, it made me feel sort of safe.”
Growing up, she worked in the store, while going to school, and then turned down a scholarship to a New York acting school to go to the University of Wisconsin. She loved her years at the UW, where she lived in Elizabeth Waters dormitory and made longtime friends who were captivated by her friendliness and fun-loving spirit, as were the many, many more friends she made throughout her life.
Shirley graduated with a degree in economics and then was a wonderful homemaker in Green Bay, where she raised four children with her husband, Sol Segall. In her early-40s, she went to St. Norbert College to get certified to teach elementary school, and then delighted second-graders and third-graders in the Green Bay suburb of Ashwaubenon.
Shirley was 47 when she and Sol divorced, and about one year later she married Erv Daskow and moved to the Milwaukee suburb of Fox Point. She and Erv traveled throughout the world and were living happily in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale, when Erv died in 2008. Shirley thought her traveling days were done, but she was wrong.
She took road trips to national parks with her son and reconnected with Larry Goulding, whom she had dated after her divorce nearly 40 years before and who was still living in Green Bay. After Shirley moved to Capitol Lakes in Madison in the summer of 2011, at the age of 85, Larry, then 80, asked her if she’d like to drive south for the winter with him in his RV. Shirley, who had never camped or lived in an RV, said she’d try it and grew to love spending the winter with Larry in RV parks and made many more friends.
She also loved the trips between Capitol Lakes and the RV parks when she and Larry toured the country. She and Larry also took trips on the Mississippi and Columbia rivers, and the Volga River in Russia. Shirley was 90 in the summer of 2016, when she and Larry drove to Oregon for the Columbia River trip, stopping on the way there and back to see national parks and other sights, and was 91 during her last winter in an RV park.
Shirley was in her mid-80s when she went with Larry to her last Packers game in Lambeau Field and sat in the same seats on the 30-yard-line, 24 rows in back of the Packers bench, that she and Sol bought when the stadium opened in 1957, and that have been in her family ever since.
Among her last words were, “Oh, good,” when she learned the Packers had beaten the Vikings to win the NFC North.
Shirley loved to dance and read, and attributed her longevity to swimming every day. She enjoyed playing bridge, mahjong and poker at Capitol Lakes, along with music on Union Terrace, Concerts on the Square, shows at the Overture Center, especially the symphony, and the Dane County Farmers’ Market into her 90s. She was also in her 90s when she often cheered on the Badger volleyball team at the Field House, and the Packers, and Badger football and men’s basketball teams, at Union South, where she shared the excitement with a crowd of UW students and alumni.
Shirley had a stunning ability to connect with others and build wonderful relationships and was the rock of her family. When asked what advice she’d give her grandchildren, she said it’s important to be kind and follow the golden rule.
“I think being thoughtful of others is really one of the big things,” she said. “Treating others as you would like to be treated. That’s the way I’ve always lived.”
Although Shirley had a good word for just about everyone, she made an exception for Donald Trump. “I can’t stand that man,” she often said.
Shirley, a lifelong Democrat, would deeply regret not living long enough to vote Trump out of office, but she would have loved it if her friends and relatives, in lieu of flowers and memorials, would donate to, volunteer for, and vote for the Democratic presidential candidate.
A celebration of Shirley’s life will take place this year. Shirley is survived by her children Cary Segall, Barbara Berry (John Olson), Joan Kerman (Mark) and Mamie Segall (Bill Sierks); grandchildren Evonne Nord (Ryan), Craig Segall (Lilly Allen), Laura Berry, David Brickerman (Maggie), Amy Kerman, Katie Sierks, Julie Sierks and Cara Sierks; and her great-grandchild, Sylvia Mae Brickerman. She is also survived by Larry, who calls Shirley “the love of my life.”