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, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas from a South Sea Coral Isle 1943

Shirlie's friends were in far off places during WWII. Among her letters I found this fantastic Christmas Card from "A South Sea Coral Isle." Whimsical graphics and poem. Love Santa in his flack helmet singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" as he trudges up the sand to the palm tree lined shore.

The sailor's lament about Christmas ... missing the comraderie at the bar and good beer. His close is super ... "I hope we were Home & Free in '43 or jump and jive in '44, Out of the sticks in '45, Golden Gate in '48. 'Amen.'" (I think his years were off in the rhyme, but it doesn't matter, does it?)

The letter was mailed Dec 4, 1943 through US Navy mail and had to pass through the Naval Censor.

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