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Shirley Potter Conley
(September 27, 1923 - January 22, 2013)

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Shirley Potter Conley

Shirley Jean Potter was born on Sept. 27, 1923, of Ralph Lee and Daisy Wallace Potter of Marlborough, Massachusetts. She enjoyed a wonderful childhood with her father (Treasurer of the Marlboro Savings Bank) and mother. She attended a Catholic high school, then accomplished a partial nursing school curriculum in Boston, and finished a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire. After War World II she married and had two sons, Kevin and Bobby. While she was single handedly raising the boys on a teacher's salary she attended Assumption College in Worcester, MA where she acquired her Masters Degree in French. She later studied at La Valle University in Quebec and La Sorbonne in Paris, France.

She always investigated ways to provide her two children with a wide exposure to various opportunities. Opportunities included acquiring various teaching jobs during the academic year and camp counselor jobs (teaching swimming, sailing, archery, and tennis) at private, YMCA, and YWCA summer camps. When they were 12 and 15 years old, she took the boys on a road trip from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to McCord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington. There she met with her close friend Hazel Robinson and Hazel's husband (while they were stationed at McCord AFB). The two families toured the Cascade Mountains, the Olympic Mountains, and ferried around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. During this time, Shirley acquired a teacher's position with the Charles Wright Academy faculty while facilitating registration of her two sons with the academy. As always, she was looking for opportunities to enhance her sons and pave the way for them to accomplish great things in the future. She always made sacrifices for the boys and helped them every step of the way to excel. It was always about the boys, not Shirley. After the boys were off to college she moved to Cape Cod to support her aging parents. She became a Professor at the Cape Cod Community College and began the next chapter of her life where she became Grandma. She worked on her Doctorate in Education, specifically cross cultural education at the University of Massachusetts and graduated at the age of 65. Her doctorate work included a vast travel schedule to all seven continents. The thesis focused on the study of various cultures. Some of the locations she visited included: the Cape Verdean Islands of the African coast, Japan, Ireland, and Germany. Her experiences helped her develop a thesis that was based on the precept that we as human beings will get along better once we understand each other's customs, religions, taboos and language.

Shirley retired from her professor teaching career and moved to Maine. She always loved Maine's fresh crisp air, the cold water, and the beautiful coast line. She found a picturesque lot overlooking Green Cove in Bremen, Maine and built her custom home. She painted , took photography courses, and learned how to sculpt. She was friends with many in the town and always enjoyed conversing (in a similar manor as her father; who always took time with people at his bank and greeted on the street). She enjoyed attending Mass on Sundays, working out at the gym, walking with her dog, and visiting with the family in Virginia during the holidays, especially spending quality time with her grandchildren. She loved many challenges and exercised and diligently watched her diet. She always encouraged her sons to be involved in helping to improve the lives. She had a "never give up mindset". She was persistent, fair, honest, generous and loving.

Shirley moved to Virginia about two and half years ago and spent days hiking, watching sports, attending art classes, going to various eating establishments, playing various games, reading, and attending church with her sons and their families. She always maintained a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh.

She will be dearly missed by the many family and friends who loved her and will always have wonderful memories to share.

A mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Monday, January 28, 2013 at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, Leesburg, Virginia. Interment will follow in St. John’s Cemetery, Leesburg, Virginia.


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