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, August 28, 2015

WWII Letter to Shirlie 1944


USS Buchanan (DD-484) was launched on November 22nd 1941 and commissioned on 21 March 21st 1942. She got underway for the Pacific a week later on May 28th 1942, and played an effective role in the landings at Guadalcanal and Tulagi in August.

After an eventful couple of years, the USS Buchanan returned to port for repairs and upgrades, then returned to the Pacific and served with the transport screen during the assault and capture of the southern Palaus (September 6th – October 14th 1944). She next participated in the strikes against Luzon in December. During the remainder of World War II she participated in the Iwo Jima invasion (February –March 1945), the Okinawa operation (March – June 1945) as well as the raids against Japan at the end of the war (July – August 1945).

Click on the image for a larger view.
This letter to Shirlie from Henry Clay Cooley III was written on “Sept 20th At Sea” and mailed on Oct 16th 1944. This was right in the middle of the Palau campaign, so he was very limited on what he could say … as expressed in the censored letter. The censors did not take any chances, not just blacking out the offending sentence, but actually cutting it completely out!
 
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Henry was no Shakespeare … in words or spelling … however he spared little in getting his feelings across … direct and to the point.

Shirlie Montgomery, Book Reviews


Young Shirlie Montgomery was an avid reader. Throughout her life she read and saved books. Upon her passing, she left behind hundreds of books ... novels, art books, coffee table tomes, cookbooks, biographies ... She wanted these to go to a good home or cause, so we donated over 40 boxes of books to the Friends of Los Gatos Library and the local Tate School in her name.

What was cool about her collection was that she still had many of the books she read as a girl. She would write essays and submit them to the San Jose newspaper in a contest. She won so many awards in the contest ... the prizes were books ... that they asked her to be a part of judging the essays and reviewing books. I'll post some of her essays and poems later, but here I have a couple of her book reviews. (These are the only ones still around.) These are from the early 1930s, when Shirlie was in her mid-teens.