Shirlie Alice Montgomery • June 9, 1918 – Nov 5, 2012

Shirlie always had her camera handy.
Shirlie Alice Montgomery was born on Chapman Street in San Jose on June 9, 1918. She was an only child. To her friends and neighbors she was a treasure trove of history. Shirlie remembered it all. She remembered the Great Depression as a child, the Second World War as a young woman, and eventually the transformation of the Santa Clara Valley from a moderately sized agricultural town to the hustle and bustle of modern Silicon Valley. The majority of her memories were supported by the thousands of photographs in her collection.
Young Shirlie Montgomery

Shirlie a few years ago from an article in the Rose Garden Resident.

She was the grandniece of San Jose’s forefather T.S. Montgomery. Shirlie lived a colorful life but professionally she photographed it with a 4X5 Speed Graphic in B&W. She was a celebrated photographer that shot Hollywood stars, U.S. Presidents and pro wrestlers. Although Shirlie did work for the S. F. Examiner and the San Jose Mercury her works remain some of the best representations of pro wrestling from the 40’s thru the 60’s. When asked about her penchant for shooting professional wrestlers she would answer “I always liked the big boys”. Such stories Shirlie had! She passed away quietly on November 5, 2012. She will never be forgotten. God rest her soul.

Obituary written by Shirlie's good friend and neighbor Joe Holt

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shirlie: Little Blossom Princess

Shirlie always wanted to perform. In her early years she trained to be a dancer.  She performed at many local venues with a group of young girls, the Little Ballerinas. In San Jose, which enjoyed a relatively small town atmosphere, Shirlie obtained a degree of fame, first with the group of girls, then as a solo performer.  An honor Shirlie received as a young girl reflected the agricultural nature of the Santa Clara Valley.  In 1929, she was selected as a Blossom Princess at the annual Saratoga Blossom Festival. She was a mere eleven years old. That's Shirlie, the little Princess on the left.
Saratoga Blossom Festival Blossom Princesses 1929 • Shirlie on left.
 Submitted by Joe Holt

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