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Millicent Petrov Shyne

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Millicent Petrov Shyne Obituary
Millicent Petrov Shyne was a true immigrant daughter of America. Her family was one of the nameless, numberless Eastern European immigrants who became the backbone of our great country - hard-working, grateful people who set their sights on learning English and proudly becoming a part of everything American.
Millicent was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, on Feb. 10, 1915, the second of nine children. When she was 5, her family emigrated to America and moved to St. Louis, where she grew up. Forced to quit school after the eighth grade so she could work to help support the family, Millicent was heartbroken because she so enjoyed learning. There and then she decided to educate herself by reading book after book, which she did all her life. She especially loved reading about world history. Millicent always said that all you need for an education is a library card. At the age of 14 Millicent went to work in a necktie factory, doing tedious piecework in dim lighting, and she worked there for almost 15 years. But when World War II broke out, like so many other "Rosie the Riveters," she got a job at a war plant, McDonnell Aircraft, in St. Louis, making airplane part templates. She was always proud to have been "Mr. Mac's" 128th employee.
After the war Millicent married an ex-Navy man, I. Joseph Shyne. Within a few years they moved to Alamogordo, and together established a real estate firm, Shyne Realty. She worked successfully as a real estate salesperson for many years, once even selling a home to an Alamogordo policeman who pulled her over for speeding.
At age 65, Millicent bought several old frame houses on Ohio Avenue and devoted her energy to renovating them, painting each one like the well-known San Franciscan "ladies." She restored her favorite to look like a Balkan cottage, and there she opened an antique and import shop she called The Serbian Peasant, named after her Serbian heritage. A natural salesperson, Millicent loved to talk about the beautiful treasures she brought back from her trips to Europe. After nine years she sold the shop and finally truly retired.
At the age of 87, Millicent chronicled the adventures of her childhood in a book she named "2943" after the address of the tenement housing her family lived in on Chouteau Avenue in St. Louis in the 1920s. This book included the memories of her parents and her siblings - memories that sometimes contradicted hers, and so made for more exciting reading. She was thrilled to be able to discuss her book in several book clubs and civic meetings, both in Alamogordo and in St. Louis.
In February 2005 Millicent celebrated her 90th birthday with 30 relatives on a Caribbean cruise. Last year she moved to Florida to live with her daughter, where she just celebrated her 95th birthday. Millicent's energy and enthusiasm were legendary. Her grandkids talk about that smile of hers, which instantly dissolved a bad mood. And her generous spirit kept her zipping down to the post office to mail people boxes full of surprises. Millicent believed people should write letters instead of sending e-mail because letters can be saved for posterity. She loved family, and she talked to her sisters and brother regularly. She insisted that Hershey's chocolate is better than Godiva, and she loved anything purple.
Millicent is survived by her son C. Michael Shyne and daughter-in-law Susan D. Shyne; her daughter Christina Williams and son-in-law Kip Williams; grandson Trent DiGiulio, of Dallas; granddaughter LaLisa Magdaleno, of Deland, Fla.; granddaughter Arlise Porras, of Olivet, Mich.; sister Dorothy Blades, of Santa Rosa, Calif.; sister Stella Gault, of St. Louis; and sister Bee Bee Davis, of Dallas, along with seven great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
The service is Wednesday, March 10, 2010, at 2 p.m. at Christ Community Church, with a reception immediately following at the church. In honor of Millicent's love of books, those who desire can make donations to the Alamogordo Public Library's New Book Fund.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Mar. 6 to Mar. 20, 2010
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