Obituary for Shirley Burns (Bowman)
Shirley Rose Burns (nee Bowman), 95, died on October 22, 2017 after a brief illness. Shirley was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 21, 1922 to Alvin and Rose (Wagner) Bowman.
As a youngster raised in the often-frigid Midwest, it's no surprise that Shirley might have become enthralled by the sport of figure skating. Unfortunately, her parents could afford neither lessons nor equipment, so Shirley made-do on the local ice rinks with sometimes ill-fitting gear and near-countless hours of self-teaching.
In her early-teens a well-to-do family friend, who was active in "Twin Cities" amateur figure skating circles, noted Shirley's interest and considerable promise. He offered to pay for her instruction, which included trips to the Olympic training facility in Lake Placid, New York. Owing to her talent and determination, Shirley joined the newly-formed St. Paul Skating Club and developed into an accomplished skater, becoming Midwest Junior Ladies Champion. She also competed in the National Championships from 1937 to 1940.
Always eager for a skating-related challenge, in her late teens Shirley joined the Ice Follies, America's original “Show on Ice,"--a glamorous ice revue that toured the country by private train. She performed across the United States from 1940 until 1947, ultimately becoming Line Captain before leaving to teach at the Boston Skating Club. It was there that she met her future husband and Nashua native, J. Richard (“Dick”) Burns, on a blind date. They married in 1949 and settled in Nashua. She was married to Dick for 59 years until his passing in 2008.
Ever the attentive mother to her two sons, Shirley cheered them on at scores of sporting events. She was a Den Mother for the Cub Scouts and taught her children to swim at the Nashua Country Club. She was also a long-time volunteer at Nashua’s Memorial Hospital.
Shirley's husband, Dick, was a member of the Dartmouth Class of 1942. Their two sons also attended Dartmouth. Shirley particularly enjoyed tailgating at Dartmouth football games. A gifted cook, she reveled in the ritual, becoming famous with students for presenting elaborate pre-game spreads. Students always knew where to look for Shirley and Dick’s extravagant feasts.
Shirley enjoyed her final years as a resident of the Hunt Community in Nashua, where she quickly became a favorite of residents and staff alike. She is survived by sons John (Nashua) and Jim (Wayne, PA), daughter-in-law Marion Childs, M.D., and grandchildren Andrew Burns and Julia Irwin, and four great-grandsons, Zephyr, Sebi, Ozzie and Amias, all of Boulder, Colorado. She is also survived by a brother-in-law, Donald K. Burns, of Indian Wells, California and two nieces, Karen Staege of Omro, Wisconsin and Barbara Diel of Ocala, Florida.
SERVICES: Burial will be at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Hudson, NH on December 12, 2017 at 1 p.m. A memorial service will be held at Hunt Community in Nashua on December 13, 2017 at 2 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to the St. Paul Figure Skating Club, 848 Pleasant Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55391. The Davis Funeral Home, 1 Lock St., Nashua, NH 03064 is in charge of arrangements. An online guest-book is available at www.davisfuneralhomenh.com. (603) 883-3401 “ONE MEMORY LIGHTS ANOTHER”.