Shirley Deane Cammack

Obituary
1 entry
  • "My thoughts and prayers go out to Shirley and her family...."
    - Joan Coffman
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Shirley Deane Cammack, who during the course of her life, lived throughout the world, died suddenly on November 19th of recently diagnosed cancer, while on vacation with her family at Culebra Island, Puerto Rico. She will always be remembered for her zest for life, her wit and wonderful laugh, and her ability to light up a room with her charm, fun and grace. Shirley was born in 1934, on the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, where her father was serving with the British India Civil Service. Her parents, Lancelot Victor Deane and Mary Lowis Deane continued to live in India until 1947, and Shirley began her education with a summer term at the Garden School, in Gulmarg, Kashmir, an area she held dear her entire life. At age 13 she was sent back to England, and was a boarder at Heron's Ghyll School in Horsham, Surrey, where the actress, Virginia McKenna, was Head girl. Upon completion of her education, she was a debutante in London, and was presented to the Queen at one of the last Court Presentations before the custom ended. Shirley then attended a secretarial college in London, before being recruited by the Foreign Office and beginning a career in the British Foreign Service. She was stationed in Frankfurt and Berlin at the height of the Cold War; much of what went on then is still secret. Tiring of social life in England, she transferred to the British delegation of the United Nations in New York, sailing on the Queen Mary. Duties with the UN included tours in Jerusalem and Palestine: one of her stories of that time was of riding a camel to the beach in Gaza while dressed in a bikini. During this period, she visited her brother, Tim, who was stationed in Germany with the British Army. While there, she befriended the Commanding Officer of the Gordon Highlanders, a Scottish regiment, and persuaded him to play the bagpipes, dressed in full regalia, outside her bedroom window at dawn, a reveille that was probably not welcomed by all. Ultimately, she returned to the United Nations offices in New York. In New York she met her first husband, B. Beverley Byrd, the son of Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia. Shirley and Bev lived in Berryville, Virginia where she entertained President Johnson and other dignitaries and enjoyed country life. She traveled extensively; began a Book Club to read the Great Books series, a group which continues to this day; and was an avid member of the Blue Ridge Hunt: she was an excellent rider, having learnt to ride at an early age in India. Her love for the open spaces of the countryside led her to serve on the Clarke County Planning Commission, where she helped to lay the groundwork for Open Space Zoning, still in effect today. Upon leaving Clarke County, Shirley moved to Baltimore Maryland, and married the love of her life, the Rev. David Cammack. She was a life-long Episcopalian, and complemented David's work as a parish priest at St. Mary's Woodlawn, Trinity Waterloo, and Emmanuel, all Baltimore area churches. On his retirement, Shirley and David lived in Dickeyville, outside Baltimore. Shirley worked at Kernan Hospital for 20 years, in a career that included Social Work and Public Relations. Her work as the Director of Amputee Services was recognized with the award of a citation by the Governor of Maryland. During this time, she researched "A History of Kernan Hospital, 1895-1995" and also a biography of James Lawrence Kernan, 1838-1912. While living in Dickeyville, Shirley loved acting in plays specially written for the Fourth of July celebrations, in addition to writing witty plays and poems to delight her many friends. In 2002, Shirley and David moved to Fairhaven Episcopal Retirement Community in Sykesville, where she was able to pursue her interest in theatre by helping to produce many Shakespeare plays at Century High School. Her love of Shakespeare has enriched the lives of countless students throughout the past decade. She was a Board Member and volunteer of The Shakespeare Factory, Carroll County, and assistant director of the Sykesville Little Theatre. Shirley is survived by her husband of 40 years, Rev. David Walker Cammack of Fairhaven, a brother, Timothy M. Deane and his wife, Gilly, of Tisbury, England, a son, B. Beverley Byrd Jr. of Berryville VA, and two grandchildren, Bradshaw Beverley Byrd III and Robert Flood Byrd, both of Berryville. She is also survived by six step-children, Westwood B. Byrd of Richmond, VA, Anne R. Dean of England, Thomas W. Cammack of Berryville, Sally Nelson Cammack of Colorado Springs, CO, Elizabeth Diamond of Chicago, IL, Cordelia Sand of Wadhams, NY, and many nieces, nephews and cousins throughout the world. There will be a Memorial Service in the chapel at Fairhaven, 7200 Third Avenue, Sykesville, MD 21784, on Wednesday, December 3rd at 2 PM, followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Shirley's memory to The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, P.O. Box 5639, Baltimore, MD 21210.



Published in Carroll County Times on Nov. 30, 2014
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