Shirley P, age 90, grew up on the water. At age 9, she fell in love with boating while at summer camp learning how to canoe. It wasn’t long before she was a camp counselor sharing her love for the water with others. A child of the depression, she learned to appreciate the simple joys of life. This would prove valuable as she anxiously awaited as her soon to be husband, Ken, went off to fight in World War II. When Ken returned the two moved and started their family in Rhode Island a mecca for sailing. Shirley shared her passion with her 3 sons, 10 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren. The sole woman in an all-male household she relished the opportunity to lead a local Mariner Girl Scout Troop on the water and expose the young ladies to the joys of sailing.
Shirley started college during WWII but left without her degree to start her family. Once her sons had grown up, she went back to school and finished her degree and embarked on a 25 year career as a librarian. She loved exposing younger generations to a world of knowledge and after retirement she continued to volunteer for many years. Today at the age of 90, Shirley is the picture of good health. When she heard that an all-women’s sailing in the midst of racing around the world as part of the Volvo Ocean Race was going to be pulling into port nearby, she knew she had to go. She wants not only to indulge in her passion for sailing but to also meet the brave and accomplished women undertaking such a momentous journey.
With the help of Wish of a Lifetime, Team SCA and Tena, Shirley partook in the ultimate sailing adventure on May 15th, 2015. After enjoying lunch with friends from South Bay Retirement Living, she set sail with Team SCA, the only all-female sailing team in the competition. Along with her daughter-in-law Helen, Shirley experienced sailing at the professional level on Team SCA’s VO65 replica boat. It was, as Shirley put it, “Thrilling….and the dream of a lifetime.”