Mom, DB, Me, My Nipa Hut, Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. These are a few of
the names given over time to Shirley Joyce Hailbronner Alexander, born on the 26th of October,
1933, in Watsonville, CA.
Shirley was the first-born to Alice Juanita Gertrude Remick, followed by her brother Jim
and half-siblings Fred Jr. and Helene. Frederick Hailbronner Sr. eventually adopted his wife's
first two children. Shirley devoted herself to her siblings, helping to raise them under sometimes
turbulent circumstances. When she could finally work, she got up at 4:30 am to get to the
Southern Pacific Railroad station, where she ran the newsstand. Over the years, Mom and Aunt
Helene had intermittent contact, but it was rare. When they reconnected as adults, Mom was
overjoyed to learn that her sister had created a large and wonderful family of her own. Many
visits ensued between the households as they came to know and love one another.
At 18, she moved to San Francisco and ended up working for HEB, a grocery store
chain based in Texas. From there, she ended up in Corpus Christi, TX, where she would meet
Corington Arnold Alexander, Jr. Residing in the same apartment complex, the two would pass
each other by and sometimes stop to chat.
Dad thought it was a good idea to flirt by showing off his belly-flopping prowess in the
complex's pool. After a whirlwind of dates, Dad continued his unconventional but successful
approach with his marriage proposal. Mom was afraid of heights, and Dad was a pilot. He
managed to talk her into his plane - a small twin-engine - and, once in flight, tipped the
passenger side wing toward the ground and begged Mom to marry him. She said if he would
right the plane and land, she would. Proof that God blessed their love, they met in April of 1967
and were married on July 1 of that same year.
Fifty-six years of marriage took Mom to faraway lands, moving with Dad to his various
naval postings. Their daughter Michelle was born in October of 1968 in San Diego, just before
she and Dad were stationed in Guam and the Philippines. Mom was very active in the Officers'
Wives' Club at Subic Bay in the Philippines, eventually becoming president. During her tenure,
she took an active part in assisting the Vietnamese refugees who were fleeing the war,
spending time at the docks to help refugees with their physical needs, and assisting with
paperwork. The whole family traveled to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand during this
We had attended chapel in the past but did not formally commit to Christ until 1980. All
three of us were baptized the same day at First Baptist Church of Springfield, VA. Mom’s
continued devotion was to her Saviour, her husband, and her only daughter. She was a
constant chaperone on school and youth group trips and became First Aid certified so she
could camp out with the Girl Scouts. She also worked outside the home as a tax preparer for
H&R Block and then as a secretary for the same company. Eventually, she served as a
secretary for First Baptist Springfield for 11 years. At home, she loved to cook, bake, sew,
crochet, and spend “me” time with Michelle.
Along the way, Mom also became “Mom” to many young military personnel who were
far from home and missing their own families. She became particularly close to a group at
Hawaii Baptist Church, where we met Jim, Mike, and Shirley. Shirley and Mike eventually
married, and Jim ended up adopting two sons, who became grandchildren to Mom and Dad.
Mom and Dad finally returned to the house they bought in 1977 and settled in for good.
In 2012, they became members of Immanuel Bible Church and joined the loving and supportive
family that is Faith Builders Adult Bible Fellowship.
In their retirement years, they enjoyed traveling to visit family and explore. One of their
favorite destinations was Nova Scotia, where Mom enjoyed the rugged shoreline and the
various lighthouses on the island. In 2018, they had the pleasure of taking a cruise around
Central America. Mom's deteriorating health eventually prevented her from doing many of the
things she enjoyed, but she maintained a positive and hopeful outlook, and her devotion to God
never wavered. She was committed to reading the Bible and listening to devotionals on her
phone. Her mind remained strong as she always remembered important dates, sending cards
and gifts to friends and family all over the country. We rejoice that she is now free of her
ailments and is enjoying a heavenly body.
Mom is survived by her husband, Corington Alexander; her sister Helene; her brother,
Fred; her adopted sons Jim and Mike; her adopted grandchildren Kenneth and Joey; and me,
her daughter Michelle. I love you, Mom. I will miss you every day, and I will see you again.