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, April 30, 2015

Jimmy Dorsey in Santa Clara 1937

Shirlie saved these two tickets to a Block S. C. Society event back in 1937. The Society was essentially a sports lettermen's group. These scholar athletes not only promoted the sports programs at the University of Santa Clara (thus "Block S. C.") but encouraged the whole concept of "scholar athlete" so much associated with the Jesuit college. This event was a variety show held in Seifert Gym on March 18, 1937. It combined professional and amateur talent, with exhibitions by students, members of the San Francisco YMCA, and professional and amateur champions in many different fields, including fencing, boxing, wrestling, weight-lifting, hand-balancing, rope-skipping and a number of unique performances. The show was generally conceded to be one of the best presentations of the year.

Apparently one of the professional performances was the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra with Bob Eberle as the lead singer and trumpeter. Shirlie, astute as always, got their autographs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Giants Opening Day 1965

Shirlie was a huge Giants fan and had been since they first came to San Francisco in 1958 and played their games at the old Seals Stadium at 16th and Bryant Streets. The City had promised the Giants a new stadium as part of the lure of moving west. Candlestick opened in 1960. Shirlie was there.

Shirlie made just about every opening day game in those earlier years. A half-century ago she documented the 1965 opening day with these photos. San Francisco Mayor John Shelley threw out the first pitch. The Giants lost that home opener 3-1 vs the Pittsburgh Pirates. I have no idea who Shirlie's friends are in these photos (if you know, let us in on it) but it looks like they are having a good time and they do have great seats!

Mayor John Shelley throws out the first pitch in this photo by Shirlie.
Looks like the AP photo was at the same moment as Shirlie's!

Shirlie with friends ... notice how fans dressed up back then ... times gone by!
Again ... who are these guys?

The fans leaving on the walking ramp ... before the moving sidewalk.

The above photos are from the Bob and Susan Bortfeld, Shirlie Montgomery Collection at History San Jose. Used with permission. The newspaper clipping is from the San Mateo Times 20 Apr 1965.