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SHIRLEY B. WILLIAMS GALVIN, died Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 at home. She was born close to the hills of West Virginia in Flushing, Ohio, on Jan. 26, 1928 the daughter of George and Kathryn Bell. During high school she was an honor student, played clarinet in the school band and was involved in many extra-curricular activities. Her family moved to Akron, Ohio, during World War II when her father took a job with Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. After graduating high school, her first job was at General Tire as a typist in the secretarial pool; however, shortly thereafter she was promoted to executive assistant to the president of the company. In 1948 she met Dan Williams who was a student at Kent State University attending college on the GI Bill. They married in 1950 and eventually had two daughters. Her husband was employed by Phillips Petroleum Co. and was transferred to the Fort Wayne area in 1953; he was killed in a car accident in 1961. A widow at 33 with two young daughters, she made the decision to become a teacher and enrolled in college, one of three women to attend the university at that time. During this time, she also took her young niece and nephew into her home and reared them as her own. As a single mother rearing four children, she also managed to work full time and maintained a 4.0 GPA. While attending school she met her current husband, John Galvin, whom she married in 1979. She graduated with a degree in Education in 1968 and accepted a job at Central High School, where she taught English and Reading for three years and made life-long friends while helping many students, both personally and academically. After earning a master's degree, she transferred to Northrop High School when the school opened in 1971 and eventually served as head of the English Department. Her love of literature, poetry and the English language was evident in her teaching and she took joy in inspiring and encouraging her many students. She felt fortunate to have had her two elder grandchildren as students and retired when the second one graduated in 2003. "She often stated that she loved every minute of her career as a teacher and regretted retiring." She and her husband, John, spent many happy days together and traveled extensively with their friends, family, children and grandchildren. She especially loved warm weather and the islands of Hawaii. "Her love of people, culture, literature and her sparkling and compassionate personality were gifts she shared freely with all whom she came into contact." She is survived by her husband of 34 years, John Galvin; and her two daughters, Judy and Lisa Williams; her nieces, Katherine Bell Toomey, Pamela Bell, and Lizabeth Bell Baxley; and a nephew, John R. Bell II; also surviving are her most beloved granddaughters, Lisa, Lauren, Isabella and Kristina. She was preceded in death by her parents and a younger brother, John. "She will be dearly missed by her family and the many whose lives she touched and changed for the better." Visitation is from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 4700 Vance Avenue, with services immediately following. Anyone who would like to share a memory is invited to participate in the ceremony.
Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Feb. 17, 2013