In 1954, Thurgood Marshall's wife, "Buster," learned she was dying from lung cancer. Because Marshall was in the middle of arguing Brown v. Board of Education, Buster did not tell Marshall of her illness until after May 17, 1954 when the case was decided. Vivian "Buster" Burey died nine months later on February 11, 1955. She was 44 years old.