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On Thursday, February 25th, 2021, Shirley Say Barnes, loving wife to “Jack”, mother of one, grandmother of two, and great-grandmother of three passed away at the age of 94. Known to everyone, as “Grandma”.
Shirley was born on September 14,1926 in Elba, New York to Charles and Marie Say and was a big sister to her brother, Theodore. She was married to John “Jack” J. Barnes on August 25, 1946. On October 19,1953, they welcomed their only son, Christopher Elliott.
In their early years, Shirley, John, and Christopher had the opportunity to travel and live in many places across the globe. A young girl from a small village in New York had the courage to move to the Philippines in 1953, where they lived for 5 years. She traveled throughout the world seeing such wonders as the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids. She was comfortable traveling and mingling with all cultures, and embraced a lifelong interest in art and world history.
An avid bridge player, veracious reader, and pursuer of knowledge, Shirley built a large social group and maintained lifelong friendships in their primary homes in Stanford, Connecticut and Charlottesville, Virginia. Her talents included sewing keepsakes like Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for her grandchildren, as well as her daughter-in-law’s wedding dress. Her sense of style defined the words elegance and class, which continued throughout her life. Shirley was a devoted gardener and nature lover, receiving numerous awards in floral arrangement, and maintained her elaborate home gardens. A lover of dogs, she raised several Labrador retrievers and loved them as a part of the family.
Above all, Shirley was the matriarch of her family, devoting herself to raising her son, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Never missing a birthday party or Christmas gathering with her son and grandsons until 2020, Shirley made clear that the reason for life is family. To that end, when she found out her great-grandchildren would relocate to Milton, Georgia, without hesitation at the age of 90 said, “I am moving to Georgia!”
She is survived by her son Christopher (Luciana), grandsons Jeffrey (Lauralee) and Timothy (Marisa) and her great-grandchildren Brayden, Ella, and Brooks. A small family service will take place on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 at Canton Funeral Home, in advance of returning her ashes to the family plot at Gates of Heaven in Hawthorne, New York.
Donations, in lieu of flowers or gifts, can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Labrador Rescue in her memory.
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