Shirley E. Renfrew (1922 - 2014)

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GREENFIELD - Shirley Renfrew passed away peacefully on April 26, 2014, at Buckley HealthCare Center at the age of 91. She was born in Greenfield, MA, on Oct. 28, 1922, to Hollis and Gladys Renfrew, both of whom predeceased her along with her sister, Marjorie.
Shirley led a very active and interesting life beginning with her interest in Art in high school. Her parents, however, thought a job where she could earn money would be better. She consequently took Commercial College courses and decided it wasn't for her. Later her grandfather from CA visited and told Shirl about all the "lady barbers there". That appealed to Shirl's artistic nature and she immediately enrolled in Barber School in Boston. She finished her apprenticeship with Harold Carrier, who recommended her for a Master's Barbers license. That was Sept. 22, 1942. After her apprenticeship, she opened Shirley's Barber Shop on Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls, where she barbered for 28 years.
She had successful breast cancer surgery at age 40. She then thought "Have I gotten out of life all I wanted?" She decided No, put her shop on a three-day week and enrolled at the Art Institute of Boston and split her time between her two loves. She graduated on May 21, 1994. She graduated believing that "fulfillment in art or any activity is achieved through personal effort, but an effort that is within most peoples' reach."
In addition to her barbering and her artistic endeavors , she also operated an antique business from her home, a remodeled sawmill, which took nine years for her to complete. She operated her barber shop, her antique business and her art space all from her home in Shelburne Falls.
To further emphasize her wish to be active the following are examples: Dale Carnegie course 1950, in charge of art shows at Franklin County Public Hospital for 10 years, Shelburne Falls Council of Aging, President Bridge of Flowers Guild, Director Evening Adult Education at Mohawk Regional High School, taught art at Greenfield High School 1974, Certified by Westfield State College in Adult Education, Certificate from Lee Institute in Real Estate 1962, took Sculpture and Painting lessons in 1964 and 1965 at Fine Arts Museum, Antique course at Greenfield Community College 1960, Photography course 1979, Member DVA, Advisory Board Big Brothers Big Sisters, Horizons New England Craft Program in Metalmaking 1993, Bellows Falls Union High School Adult Education Certification in Chair Caning, supervised two gas stations 1950s, Member Little Red School, Deerfield Valley Art Association, Franklin County Art Space.
In addition to all these activities Shirley was an avid traveler which she called her "hobby". She travelled to Greece, Japan and China, took a 23-day camera trip through Europe, a 23-day camera safari throughout southern Africa, and a two-week theatre tour through London. She also owned a Corvette and a Fiat X-19; she loved driving sports cars all her life.
Shirley and her mother Gladys owned a home in Zephyrhills, FL. When Gladys died, Shirley continued going to FL until she was stricken with an illness. Over the following years, Shirley lived at home in Greenfield, MA, and had numerous Home Health Aides, one of whom is Jackie Carlo who lovingly took care of Shirley for many years.
In March of 2013, she entered Buckley HealthCare. We especially thank Jenn, Barbara, Deb and Sarah for their compassion and support over the past year. We also want to thank the 2nd floor nursing staff and the Buckley staff as a whole.
Shirley leaves her dearest friend of 55 years, Janet Richards. They cared for and supported each other in their various adventures and Shirley will be dearly missed forever. She also leaves Beverly Matthews her friend of 38 years, Ann Ripley a lifelong dear friend and many other friends too numerous to mention; her cousin, Hollis, whom she loved dearly, who predeceased her.
Shirley is being cremated by Eternal Blessings of Guilford, VT, and her ashes will be buried at Green River Cemetery, Greenfield, MA, with her parents and sister. Interment will be private at a later date.
Funeral Home
Eternal Blessings Crematory
286 Tubbs Drive
Guilford, VT 05301
(802) 254-3508
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Published in The Recorder on May 6, 2014
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