Shirley R. Green, a long-time Missoula resident and educator, passed away on June 27, 2018, at her home with her children by her side. She was 93 and died of conditions due to her age and pancreatic cancer.
Shirley was born on Sept. 20, 1924, in Los Angeles to Thomas Eugene Ring and Audrey Phillips Ring. Shirley’s early years were spent in Los Angeles, and her family later moved to rural New Hampshire and settled on a farm. Shirley’s family moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, where she graduated from Manchester High School Central in 1942. In 1946, Shirley graduated from Keene Teachers College (now Keene State College) in Keene, New Hampshire, with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. During college summers, Shirley worked in factories and as a waitress. She made lifelong friends during her college years.
Shirley met her husband Max C. Green at a USO in Manchester, New Hampshire. After a less than six-month engagement, they married on Jan. 20, 1946, at Grace Episcopal Church in Manchester, NH. Shirley and Max were married for 65 years prior to Max’s passing in 2011.
Shortly after marriage, Shirley and Max moved to Utah where Shirley briefly taught high school English and supported Max in his career in the U.S. Forest Service. The couple started their family, and Shirley continued to support Max in his Forest Service promotions and assignments in Utah, Idaho, California and Oregon. Shirley resumed teaching in the mid-1950s in Idaho and taught junior/high school math and geometry. In Fresno, California, Shirley assisted students on home-hospital instruction, which she found extremely rewarding. In Cedar City, Utah, Shirley taught high school English, literature and journalism.
In 1967, Shirley and Max moved to Missoula and remained there for the rest of their lives. Shirley had a gift for teaching seventh-grade English and math at Lewis and Clark Grade School until her retirement in 1978. Shirley loved teaching and her students, many of whom recognized and thanked her when they saw her in public.
For more than 50 years, Shirley was an extremely committed and active member of Holy Spirit Episcopal Parish, where she served on Altar Guild and Vestry. In retirement, Shirley and Max enjoyed travel throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with less extensive trips to Europe, Panama, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean. Shirley was committed to fitness and was a long-time member of and volunteer at the Missoula YMCA, where she was a board member and aquatics instructor. In 1990, Shirley was named Missoula YMCA Senior of the Year. Shirley continued to swim and participate in aquatic exercises well into her 90s at Currents Aquatics Center. Shirley was an active bridge player, read the newspaper cover to cover daily, and loved to attend Missoula Children’s Theater and University of Montana drama productions.
Shirley’s family remembers her fondly for her fierce loyalty and support. She is survived by daughter Maxine (Charles) Schmitz of Spokane, sons Tom of Missoula and Gary (Laura Riley) of Clovis, California; grandchildren Heidi Bawden, Kent Schmitz, Brittany Green, Alexandra and Amy Green; and great grandchildren Archer and Kinlee Schmitz and Whyatt and Sawyer Bawden.
The family extends gratitude for the excellent care provided to Shirley by Lisa Lovejoy, M.D., and professionals at Western Montana Clinic and by her care teams at The Village Senior Residence and Hospice of Missoula.
A celebration of Shirley’s life will be on September 29, 2018, at 11 a.m. at Holy Spirit Episcopal Parish, 130 South Sixth Street East, Missoula, MT 59801. A private burial service will follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Shirley’s honor to the National Museum of Forest Service History, PO Box 2772, Missoula MT 59806.