Shirley Marilyn Hunt was born on December 12, 1926 to William and Margaret Minea (Luedeman) in St. Paul Minnesota and passed away at age ninety-five on January 16, 2022, in Santa Barbara California.
Early in her life she was joined by her brother, Bill, in 1931, with whom she shared a close relationship their entire lives.
In sixth grade she moved with her family to Portland, Oregon where she remained through her graduation from Grant High School. After one year at the University of Oregon in 1948, she married Robert Lee (Bob) Kelly whom she later supported through college at the University of Oregon and through graduate school at what was then Claremont Men’s College in Claremont, California. Along the way she gave birth to a son, Bruce, born in 1951, and a daughter, Sharon, in 1952. After Bob began his teaching career, she added another daughter, Sheila, in 1958.
After her divorce, Shirley, worked at Anaheim and Placentia School Districts as a school secretary until her retirement in 1990. Her ability to communicate without being confrontational was a talent often remarked upon by the numerous school principals with whom she worked, all of whom considered her a valuable asset to the school. After her retirement, she volunteered at a local hospital where her ability to be efficient and still make people at ease, proved once again to be a welcome commodity
In 1966, she married Louis Hunt with whom she shared a wonderful relationship full of bridge and travel until his passing in 1993. Together with a large set of mutual friends they traveled to every corner of Europe including what was then the Soviet Union. After Lou’s death Shirley retained the travel bug and, thanks to her large circle of friends, including her late-life beau, Ralph Davis, she cruised and traveled throughout the U.S, and to New Zealand and other exotic locales.
In 2012, she moved to Maravilla in Santa Barbara to be near her daughters, and remained there until her passing.
As might be inferred from the timeline above, the most significant talent that Shirley had was the ability to make friends. She maintained lifelong friendships with the women with whom she graduated in eighth grade and who still met on an annual basis well into their eighties, traveling in some instances to Camp Sherman in Oregon, to the Lawrence Welk resort in Escondido, California, and many stops in between. In the same vein, she maintained a very large circle of friends in California, as attested to in her remarkable seventy-fifth birthday party organized by her daughter, Sharon, for which fifty people were in attendance. Even at Maravilla, where she moved without knowing a soul, it was only a few months before her visiting children were immediately greeted as Shirley’s son or daughter, followed by an unsolicited testimonial as to how wonderful their mother was. She immediately became active in a number of bridge, current affairs, dining, and theater groups, all of whom were happy to integrate her almost immediately upon meeting her.
Shirley outlived her first and second husbands and Ralph, but she is survived by her son Bruce Kelly and daughters Sharon Holmgrain and Sheila Abshere and by five grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Memorial services are planned for later in the summer.
She is greatly missed.