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, March 28, 2014

Shirlie Montgomery Exhibit Picturing San José Since 1938 Opens April 14th

History San José Presents Photo Exhibit:
Shirlie Montgomery: Picturing San José Since 1938

San Jose, CA – March 25, 2014 – The life of Shirlie Montgomery was a colorful one. From her love of photography, sports, and journalistic photography, she was in a unique position to capture history.

History San José will presents a photography exhibit based upon a collection of her pictures. ShirlieMontgomery: Picturing San José Since 1938, will open to the public Monday, April 14, at the Leonard & David McKay Gallery in the Pasetta House at History Park.

HSJ issued the above release announcing the opening of the exhibit based on the life and works of our friend Shirlie Montgomery. The majority of the exhibit is built around the archive of photos, documents and memorabilia that we donated to HSJ last fall. HSJ has included items from their own collection, much of it from Leonard McKay and Lou’s Village, and items on loan from the Glenn Neece family, who owned the Ringside Bar in San Jose. The exhibit is planned to run from April 14th to August 10th.

According to Ken Middlebrook, Collections Manager for HSJ, the exhibit will be broken into three basic areas: Shirlie’s commercial work, her personal life and her relationship with wrestling. Another room will have interactive activities that deal with photography.

If you enjoy local history or are a wrestling fan, this is a can’t miss exhibit.