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

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mele Kalikimaka to Shirlie from Hawaii

Shirlie befriended all the military personnel who came into the Danzabar at the Hotel De Anza back in the 1940s. Many of them would write to her from their stations in the Pacific. This one is a marvelous letter from an Army Military Policeman stationed in Hawaii at Christmastime in 1953. The letter is carefully typed on a special Hawaiian Christmas paper ... and the letter was inspected, censored and passed by the Army inspector on its way to the Bay Area. The letter is fantastic ... he does a great job describing the Hawaiian Christmas experience with both wit and insight. Enjoy it ...

(Click on the image for a larger image)

Images from our personal collection.

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