Shirley Ann Knowles


Shirley Ann Knowles

Today is a sad day for the town of Southampton. Everywhere you go, people are in shock at the sudden death of yet another of their stellar citizens ... Shirley Ann Knowles.

Death is never easy but sometimes, when it's expected because of illness or living a long full life, it can be easier to manage somehow. When it's sudden and unexpected however, as in the case of Shirley Ann, it seems to be a little more difficult to accept.

A retired teacher, she is fondly remembered by many in Southampton. Shirley Ann was also a very involved and active member of Southampton United Church where she sang in the choir for many years and sat on various committees. It was, in fact, only hours before her death that she attended what was to be her last meeting.

"We will especially miss her logic and her optimism," Frank Eagleson, Church Board Chairman, says, "She always looked at things as a challenge and gave us wonderfully grounded advice. She will be sorely missed by the whole community."

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Shirley Ann and her very special friend, Jean Innes, shared a home on Huron Street in Southampton and one seldom saw one without the other. Shopping for groceries, at the post office, walking uptown or going to church, the two of them joked back and forth and often interrupted each other, completing sentences. Both had a quick wit, each suited to the other's and a profound love of music.

Almost every Remembrance Day ceremony at Southampton's cenotaph, often weathering bitter cold, the two of them would be there. At the last Remembrance Day, I had the good fortune to stand with them and, as we sang the hymns of remembering, Shirley Ann and Jean went into harmonies. I asked Jean if she was cold and Shirley Ann answered, "If our soldiers could fight in the conditions they did, then I guess we can stand here for 40 minutes" ... and that was the end of that.

One of 11 children, with eight brothers and two sisters, Shirley Ann is also survived by her aunt, Isobel Howke, who at 101 is one of Southampton's longest lived residents. These strong women, Shirley Ann, Jean, Isobel and others like them are the underlying strength of a community. It's through their efforts that things get done, whether it's a fundraiser for the hospital or a flea-market for the church.

Shirley Ann died at Southampton Hospital February 28th at the young age of 76.

A Time to Celebrate her Life will be held at the Southampton United Church on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. with Reverend Keith Reynolds officiating.

Shirley Ann Knowles  ... you will be missed.

Sandy Lindsay,