Valley Lives - Shirley Selwyn

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the July 12, 2001 issue. Reprinted with permission.

A tribute to Shirley Selwyn 1902 -2001

by Will McClelland

Long time summer resident of Kirk's Ferry and former national president of the Canadian Home Reading Union, Shirley Selwyn died peacefully in Ottawa June 27.

Born Shirley Girouard on July 1, 1902, the mother of three met her late-husband, Harley, while cross-country skiing in the hills they would one day call home.

Valley Lives
Shirley Selwyn.

"She used to come up from Ottawa on the train and go skiing," recalls grandson John Crawford Selwyn, "that's before there were marked trails. She met Harley at the Carbide Wilson Mill at Meech Lake."

Determined to become the first woman on Larrimac Golf Club's board of directors, Shirley spent the summer of 1926 - her first as a newly-wed - at Kirk's Ferry.

In 1952, having grown a family and enjoyable way of life, Shirley expressed her love for this country area, its pace and its pleasures, in an article on "summering" written for Up the Gatineau!

"There is a sense of well-being which comes from being close to the good earth. The artificialities of city-life disappear so that people are without tension. Men who lived under heavy strain during the war years found they could better carry their burden when they could put the city behind them."

When not penning her thoughts on the Chelsea summer and its numerous benefits, the lifetime member of Larrimac Golf Club could be found playing bridge in the clubhouse, making her famed-oatmeal cookies with her grandchildren, or hosting yet another open invitation Sunday tea-party.

Son David Selwyn recalls his mother's generosity as extending to all, not just tea-lovers.

"We all used to have motorcycles when I was a teen," reminisces Selwyn, "and we'd come in late at night and sleep all over the house. In the morning she'd count noses and make breakfast."

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