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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Shirlie's Archives Donated to History San Jose

Recntly, Susan and I have donated the archives we got from Shirlie to History San Jose. We felt it was appropriate for her life work and history to be kept by HSJ and made available to the public. She was a fascinating lady. Active in so many things and she left a fantastic collection behind ... she NEVER threw anything away. HSJ now has nearly a century of Montgomery and Bueck family photos, documents, fliers, diaries, scrpbooks, photo albumsand letters. Shirlie's middle school and high school yearbooks are there as well. (HSJ already had the 1932-35 SJSC yearbooks.) There are also some items from her grand-uncle T. S. Montgomery in the collection.

HSJ will create an exhibition that will be on display early in 2014, as well as some online access to the collection. Watch here and on the HSJ website and the HSJ blog for details as they become known.