Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Remembering Shirley

     Those passing through the hallways of the Montgomery County Courthouse at lunchtime during the last several months noticed a void. The chair, regularly  occupied by Shirley Jane Dilliplane, of Pottstown, sat empty while she reportedly recovered from an illness.
Montgomery County Courthouse/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.
     "Where's Shirley?" many concerned courthouse employees often were heard saying as they strolled past the chair on the courthouse plaza level where Shirley, 52, sat each day on her lunch break, between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., crocheting blankets and joking with fellow employees she had come to know during her 28 years working for the county as an accounts payable clerk.
     Shirley's laughter and sense of humor were a constant, day-in-and-day-out, at that location, and courthouse visitors noticed when she was not there. I, on many occasions, was witness to the strong-willed, friendly woman speaking her mind, and she would often have a comment about the tie I wore on any particular day. Many in the courthouse family would stop and chat with her about her latest blanket creation.
     Sadly, word came on Sept. 22 that Shirley, a 1980 graduate of Pottstown Area High School, had passed away.
Memorial to Shirley Jane Dilliplane
     In the days that followed, some employees who knew the longtime county worker created a memorial, in the chair considered Shirley's. The memorial began with a flier, attached to the chair, announcing Shirley's funeral details. But soon, another employee added a floral tribute and then another added a crocheted blanket, gently draping it over the arm of the wooden chair. Finally, a photo of a smiling Shirley was placed on the wall behind the chair.
     "We saw her every day. She used to sit in her same place. We saw her knitting every day. She always talked to everybody," recalled Lisa Blake, a courthouse employee who often talked with Shirley. "She had a sense of humor, funny, and was always nice to everybody."
     "She liked to joke with me about Christmas because I hated Christmas. She likes it and I hate it and she'd put things on my Facebook page a lot," Blake laughed.
     In addition to crocheting blankets for relatives and friends, Shirley, a daughter of Marie A. (Garner) and the late Richard E. Dilliplane, also loved to read, attended Allentown School of Business and obtained an associate degree in accounting. In addition to her mother, Shirley is survived by a brother, a sister and numerous nieces and nephews, many of whom she would often mention with love and laughter during her conversations with others.
     Those who took the time to create the memorial for Shirley exhibited a special kindness. I'm sure your thoughtfulness was appreciated by many.
     "I tell God to tell her, 'Hi,'" Blake said.
     Rest in peace, Shirley. You will be missed.

In Memory of Shirley Jane Dilliplane

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