Shirley Bridget Hore was born on the 15th of October, 1934 to two very proud parents, Dot and Tommy. Shirl was the last of three girls and was much loved by her two older sisters, Edna and Mary along with her large extended family. Shirl attended St Joseph’s primary school in Wandal then finished her education at St Teresa’s. In her younger years Shirl was quite the tennis player and enjoyed nothing more than taking to the court with her sisters and friends.
One of Shirl’s greatest attributes was that she nurtured and maintained friendships which certainly stood the test of time. When growing up, Shirl happened to live next door to a girl named Shirley Clarke. To avoid confusion the girls became known as Shirley A and Shirley B. When Shirl began working at Lakes Creek she became fast friends with Hazel. Wherever Shirl, went, Hazel stood by her side. I wonder if they knew that this friendship was to last over sixty years.
Very quickly, Hazel, Shirley A, Shirley B and her sister Mary, became the “fantastic four” and did everything together. Saturday night was the highlight of their week as they would all venture off to the local dances. Dressed to the nines the “fantastic four” certainly became popular with the local lads. As is the way, Shirl took particular interest in one young man named Bill and before long Shirl walked down the aisle and became Mrs Shirley Todd.
In the meantime, Shirley A had fallen for Bill’s brother, Phillip, and she too waltzed down the aisle to become yet another Mrs Shirley Todd and thereby a lifetime of confusion began. Their poor doctor never knew how to write out their prescriptions and many a product was ordered which landed on the incorrect doorstep. Unfortunately, Shirley A passed away a few years ago and this caused the most confusion ever. Poor Sister Josephine heard of Shirley’s death and tried to contact Lyn to offer her condolences. Imagine her shock when Shirl answered the phone.
Prior to their marriage, Shirl and Bill worked very hard to save enough money for the deposit needed to buy what would become their home for the next 60 years. Bill travelled afar to work as a cane cutter while Shirl continued to work at Lakes Creek. Once they had purchased their home, they married and so began their wonderful life together.
Shortly prior to Bill’s passing they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, a testament to their love and commitment. Shirl and Bill soon began their family and welcomed their beautiful daughter Lyn, and two sons, Garry and Raymond. Their home very quickly became the meeting point of all the local children. All of them knew that a quick snack or a generous meal would always be waiting for them in Shirl’s kitchen.
Like her mother before her, Shirl was a great cook and it was nothing for her to present not one, not two but three entirely different dishes on any particular night. She regularly cooked chicken for her family even though Shirl hated the smell, taste and texture of this poultry treat. Her favourite dishes included all things chocolate. As Shirl would say… “Because of the war, there wasn’t any chocolate when I grew up; so I am just catching up!”
Shirl was a wonderful Mum and allowed us to grow up in a very loving environment. Regardless of all the pranks and misadventures of the three of us, Shirl was always there with a tender hug or sympathetic ear. Together with her sister Mary, they provided us with an upbringing which was the envy of all our friends. Swimming lessons, riding horses, buggy rides and wonderful birthday parties we had it all. She even put up with all the animals we would bring home, particularly Roy!
Shirl cut a fine figure in her bathers and very quickly learned the ability to strike a pose. Friends regularly caught the train to Emu Park to spend a happy day at the beach. Unfortunately, while Shirl certainly looked the part she held a very hidden secret….She couldn’t swim! Quite some years passed and Shirl was enjoying a Sunday picnic with both family and friends. Everyone was having a wonderful time splashing and playing in the water. Shirl was enjoying a peaceful spell of floating on a tyre tube however that was soon to be rudely interrupted as she was ingloriously flipped upside down by one of the revellers. Poor Shirl remained upside down as her bottom had become stuck in the tube. All around her went silent until a swell of laughter erupted which could not be contained. Poor Shirl eventually rescued herself and rose out of the water to a roar of belly laughs from the growing crowd.
From her youngest years to those of her oldest Shirl was always a party girl and the fabulous four and their now partners knew how to have a great time. In later years Shirl became an integral part of all the fun at our place. Whether she was being face painted in Vegemite or imitating the Easter Bunny Shirl loved it all. One of her best parties was her 80th which she shared with Aunty Mary, Jan, Sam, Donna/Lyn and I. Together we spent a wonderful weekend at Rydges enjoying all that Yeppoon had to offer. Shirl even enjoyed being trapped in the Handicap lift!
It was my absolute honour to become a surrogate daughter to Shirl. She welcomed me into her family without judgement and with a heart full of love. We offer our eternal gratitude to Mary, Jan, Samantha, Father Gilbert, Sister Josephine and Mum’s dear friend Sister Bernadette. You who have been a Godsend throughout this time and the love you showed to both Shirl and us is beyond reproach and will be remembered forever.
The volume of people who thought the world of Shirl has been simply overwhelming. Shirl’s philosophy throughout her whole life was that “it was not her place to judge anyone”. This is one of the great lessons she taught me and I will now always aspire to embrace this virtue.
My Mum was a mother not only to me but to all my friends. She would take on that mothering role to all those in need and those who just needed a kindly chat.
I take great comfort in one of the last things my Mum said to me. In her last days, she opened her unique eyes, looked at me, smiled and said, “I love you so much. I don’t want to leave you”. And while I certainly did not want her to go, I knew that I was handing her over to the very safe hands of Garry – her much loved son and my brother.
I love you dearly my beautiful Mum and both Raymond and I will miss you every single day, but for now I leave you in God’s care.