July 11, 1948 – November 23, 2021
In loving memory ~
Shirley Prince was born in Vancouver on July 11, 1948. She was found deceased in her home in Port Alberni on Nov. 23, 2021. She is survived by her brother, Don Prince, and predeceased by her husband, Roy Snikkers, and her son from a previous marriage, Darren Rurka.
Shirley began teaching in School District 70 in 1969. She became principal of Hilton Elementary School in 1973. When it was closed in 1983, she transferred to Maquinna School, retiring from teaching there in 2005. Her leadership style was one of collaboration. Her classrooms were places of innovation where learning was always the best fun ever.
Shirley was a woman of diverse creativity and accomplishment. Whatever she studied, she mastered. Humble cotton batik developed into intricate designs in silk. Tai chi classes led to instructorship. Birdwatching became taxidermy and hummingbird banding. Enjoying flowers became not just growing prize-winning dahlias, but judging them. Shirley was not content with walking easy trails; she relished the challenge of conquering summits. She didn’t just throw something on; she flaunted flamboyant costumes with great panache. Whatever Shirley did, she did with style. She put in that extra effort and imagination that made events with her friends or students wonderfully special.
Shirley excelled in traditional homemaker skills. She could sew her own clothes or cook a gourmet meal. She loved her home and decorated it with photographs, weavings, carvings, and interesting objects of art from around the world. She loved her garden and worked hard in it. She began by producing huge quantities of vegetables, most of which she gave away, before deciding to concentrate on a celebration of flowers. She loved her cats. They appeared in turn over the years as sick and hungry strays at her door, and she rescued every one of them, despite expensive veterinary care.
Shirley was a strong feminist. She championed social justice. She worked to elect progressive candidates and supported the conservation of nature, protesting environmental destruction in Clayoquot Sound and Strathcona Park. She
loved hiking, boating, fishing and camping in the beautiful, wild places of the west coast. She loved her friends and to throw big parties for them. Shirley was a woman of tremendous resourcefulness and energy. She was smart, vivacious and funny. She knew how to have a good time, and packed a tremendous amount of fun and adventure into her life. In her younger days, she loved to dance the night away. In her last years, however, she withdrew in grief over the loss of her son, ill health, and the isolation of the pandemic.
Everything with Shirley was up close and personal. She had a caring sensitivity and deep compassion. Her thoughtfulness and generosity are legendary among the many she took under her wing. Shirley was full of curiosity and daring. She knew how to spit in the devil’s eye. She made the world a better place because of who she was. In accordance with her wishes, there will be no funeral service. In remembrance of Shirley, teach children with love, do your best, and help each other. Grow flowers. Pet cats. Laugh a lot. And have adventures.
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