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

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Celebrities Arrive at SFO Aboard a DC-7

Shirlie was called upon to take all kinds of publicity photos. While she just loved taking sports action shots, especially of wrestlers, and was a consistent contributor to the newspapers in the Bay Area, it was publicity photos that paid the bills.

This photo is of a group of Hollywood celebs just after deplaning from a Douglas DC-7. The DC-7 is an American transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1953 to 1958. This photo looks to be from the late-1950s and is probably at San Francisco Airport, as the San Jose Airport was primarily a small general aviation facility until 1965. United Airlines did not fly out of San Jose until 1967.

Don't you just love how they were dressed? These were the days when you dressed up to fly. It was like going to the City. Wish it were still that way today! The suits, dresses, coats and hats are true fashion statements of the era.
Celebrities Arriving at SFO Aboard a DC-7 (Shirlie Montgomery photo, restored by Joe Holt)

I wish I could recognize any of the celebrities in this photo, but I can't ... I don't know the '50s Hollywood stars well enough. If you can, please comment below.