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

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Shirlie ... Artist ... not just a Photographer

Through the years I learned that Shirlie was not just a photographer. She had a great eye for art, was a observer of people and an artist in so many ways. She was an author ... writing short stories and poetry. She was a lithographer ... see her linoleum block prints. She was an artist ... her drawings and graphic illustrations were integral parts of her scrapbooks. 

Then one day, not long ago, I came across this little weird looking bird! I almost got rid of it. Then I saw the mark on the bottom ... SM '35. This was Shirlie's! A little pottery bird made when Shirlie was 17 years old.

I remember her telling me about a class she took on making pottery. She threw some pots ... never found those. She never mentioned this little critter.



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