Cover photo for Nan Shirley Auston's Obituary
Nan Shirley Auston Profile Photo
1948 Nan 2023

Nan Shirley Auston

August 26, 1948 — March 18, 2023

Nan Shirley Auston died peacefully on Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Cullman, Alabama, after a long illness that she battled bravely until the end. Nan was surrounded by her family during her last weeks, enjoying many stories and laughs. She was 74.

Born on August 26, 1948, in Dothan, Alabama, she moved to Ozark when she was eleven and graduated from Carroll High School in 1966. She then attended Massey Draughon Business College and later studied business administration at Lurleen Wallace Community College. Nan developed a love for retail, at various times co-owning three shoe stores for twenty years, helping make and sell premium candy, serving as retail sales manager for Proctor & Gamble, starting her own local company to represent Rodan and Fields, and for many years managing booths at a variety of flea markets and antique malls.

Nan was known both for being a kind and caring soul and for having a fiery side. She enjoyed civic work and was active in the Dothan Service League where she served as secretary. In Cullman, she spent a decade active in the Pilot Club to raise money for brain trauma issues, serving one term as president. She was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley and served five years on the board of the Registrar’s Office of the Secretary of State for Alabama to help oversee voter registration and elections, including service as chairman of the board.

Nan helped found the Tea Party in Cullman, Alabama, when it was all about keeping taxes in check, though she ceased involvement when her health issues arose and she felt social issues were taking precedent over the real mission.

She has lived in Alabama, Texas and Mississippi. In Birmingham, Alabama, she met and married Keith Auston and moved to Cullman with him for the next 23 years. Nan’s dream was to camp and travel with Keith, and they lived out their dreams in recent years traveling to campgrounds and state parks stretching from the Gulf of Mexico beaches to the Pacific shores near Seattle—with several small beloved dogs on the trips.

Nan was preceded in death by her grandparents Alfred and Dora Shirley, Bama Shirley, and Will and Sally Purvis, her father Alvin C. Shirley, and more than two dozen dear aunts, uncles and cousins.

She is survived by her devoted husband Keith Auston, her mother Mozelle Purvis Shirley, her brother Philip Shirley (Virginia), her children, Michelle Penn Ward (Trey), Andy Glenn Penn (Tabitha), Kelly Nechole Auston Owen (Tim), and Christopher Wayne Auston, twenty-one grandchildren, five great grandchildren and a gaggle of cousins, nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to your favorite veteran’s organization.

A memorial event celebrating Nan’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on April 22 at Faith Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Cullman at 6880 on Alabama Highway 157. A second celebration will be held at 2:00 p.m. on May 21 at Celebration at Jones Crossing at 5918 Fortner Street in Dothan, Alabama.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Nan Shirley Auston, please visit our flower store.


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