Mama Shirley Fund


The “Mama Shirley Fund” has been established by Health & Home Services, Inc. President, Kurt Jakusz, to assist with the operational expenses of the Women’s Resource Center. The Fund is in memory and honor of the mothers of business co-owners Kurt Jakusz, and Sandy (Jones) Huff, along with, Regional Director and Operations Manager, Wendy (Phillips) Chavez, whose mothers are all named Shirley. 

Anyone can contribute to the “Mama Shirley Fund” and honor a special “Mama” in your own life by using the PayPal link at the right and designating the fund and honoree in the special instructions to seller section, after logging into PayPal.

Here are pictures and bios of our “Mama Shirleys”

 mother1crop Sandy Huff's Mom #3Wendy-Chavezs-Mom22

Kurt’s Mom               Sandy’s Mom                   Wendy’s Mom
Shirley Jakusz          Shirley Hart Jones          Shirley Lowman
In Memoriam            In Memoriam                   In Honor

Shirley Marie (Jacobson) Jakusz was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin on January 2, 1929. She was the first born to Lawrence Jacobson Sr. and Wanda (Walczak) Jacobson. She had one brother, Lawrence Jacobson, Jr.  She attended St. Peter’s grade school and attended high school at St. Joseph’s Academy in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Shirley married on September 3, 1949 to Vern Jakusz. They had four children – Kurt Steven, Mary Kay (Sciefelbein), William John (Bill), and Glen Allen.

She had many diverse interests, enjoyed reading, music and poetry.  She said that had she not been a mother, she would have liked to been a Social Worker.  Her passion was her family and she was an awesome cook and home maker. She was at her best entertaining family and friends with her delightful food and knew how to handle the big holiday meals. Her parties were legendary.

She and her mother inspired my sister, Mary Kay, to be a great mother and awesome grandmother and also instilled an appreciation of sewing and threads. Mary now runs a quilt shop in Milton, Wisconsin, and has the old family Singer sewing machine.

To her sons she offered acceptance, understanding, an open ear, and had that special place in her heart for her “Boys”.  She taught each of us to cook and she didn’t want us to be dependent on anyone to cook our favorite meals and our noodles. We all enjoyed spending time with her in the kitchen.

She passed away in January 1980.

Shirley Hart Jones lived the majority of her life in Lansing, NC.  She grew up in a large family of eight brothers and one sister. After marrying Bobby Jones in 1958, they had three children, two sons and one daughter.  She had four grandchildren and five great grandchildren at the time of her death.  Family was most important to her.  The love she had for us was immeasurable.  Her soft and gentle voice and her unbreakable strength and spirit guided us all to the people we have become.

Our mother was a remarkable woman!  She was humble in a way that made people want to know her.  Her unique way of encouragement helped many friends and family members through the hard times that we all face in our lives.  Her strength in facing her own obstacles was an example for all to follow.

One of my fondest memories of mom is in the winters when we were growing up.  The heavy snows would keep us out of school so my brothers and I would put on practically every piece of clothing we had (that was before gortex) and go out to ride our sleighs.  When we would come back in later in the morning all cold and wet, she would have made us homemade biscuits and chocolate gravy.  Those were special times.

Mother was a master gardener and her flower gardens flourished with bloom every season.  She enjoyed going to antique stores looking for a treasure and was especially fond of pouring pitchers.  Her collection is still displayed at the family home.  Mother could do just about anything she set her mind to and there was always a project going on.  Whether it was making new drapes for the living room or hanging wallpaper in the kitchen, she always got it done.  She worked for many years trying to persuade the NC Department of Transportation to pave the road by our farm.  After collecting signatures, filing in the appropriate paperwork, and making numerous calls, the road was finally paved.

Mother could have been taken from us much sooner as she battled an auto-immune disease called scleroderma from an early age.  As much as the disease kept attacking her little body, she fought back with an incredible will to go on.  When she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she immediately asked the doctor “What can I do to fight this?”  Although her body finally gave out, her spirit was strong until the end.  Mother passed away on October 10, 2009 at the age of 67 but she leaves a legacy of great strength and humility and everyone who knew her has been blessed to have experienced it.

Shirley Phillips Lowman is originally from Hickory, NC where she was the oldest daughter out of a total of 9 children in a blended family.  As a small child, her parents divorced and she and two of her brothers were left for her grandmother to raise. Eventually, her mother remarried and another 6 siblings came into her family.  As the oldest daughter, she learned very early how to be a “mama” to her younger siblings.  Being a mother came easy to her and she knew she wanted a large family.  She married in her teens and went on to have 6 children with her husband, Jerry Phillips (deceased). 

Mama Shirley worked most of her life at Phillips Hosiery Mill, a family business.  When the textile industry started to crumble in the area, she found a job at a local bank and eventually went on to retire with BB&T.  Her passion for helping others was also attained through going back to school in her 40’s to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.  She worked at Frye Regional Medical Center part-time for several years.  Retirement did not slow this mother down. In addition to still doing her own yard work, you can find Mama Shirley baking in her kitchen on most days. You will then find her delivering her home made goodies of cakes, cupcakes, breads, and her famous chocolate pizzas to friends, family, past employers, or the local car dealership, nursing homes, nail salons, or her favorite beautician.  Her trademark is to always have extra umbrellas in her car and when she sees someone walking in the rain without one, she pulls over, hands them one, and wishes them a blessed day.

Her children are Andy Phillips, Jeff Phillips, Tim Phillips, Wendy Phillips Chavez, Jeremy Phillips, and Mandy Phillips Lankford.  They all reside in the Hickory area and are proud to call her mama.  She has 17 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.  She re-married and continues to live in Hickory with her husband, Wilburn Lowman.  Her family grew by adding 3 grown children and more grandchildren for her to love. She is active at her church, Penelope Baptist, where she has served on many committees over her lifetime of attendance there. She is on the Town of Longview Planning Committee, where she has served for many years.

As her children, we are so honored to be able to call her “Mama”.  She has given so much love and kindness to others throughout her entire life, it is a privilege to be able to see her efforts being acknowledged and know that the essence of who she is will live on through the Mama Shirley fund.

Women's Resource Center empowers women through workforce development, advocacy, enrichment programs and community partnerships.