Shirlea passed away peacefully at her home in Cranbrook BC, on February 26, 2017, aged 89; and will be sadly missed by all whose lives she touched.
Born February 9, 1928 in Cranbrook, Shirlea was the youngest child of Ray and Dorothy (Mackey) Armstrong, and at 6 months; she, her parents, and siblings Bill and Paulie moved to Kimberley.
Shirlea grew up in a tight-knit community surrounded by a loving extended family; which is where she gained the character traits for which she was so renowned and loved – humility, compassion, grace, open-mindedness, curiosity, understanding, sense of humor, honesty, determination and wit.
The Armstrong home was a gathering place for all ages, where everyone was welcomed with open arms. She ventured to Calgary to learn surveying and drafting, then returned to Kimberley to work in the Cominco office as the first woman to hold this position. A young geologist caught her eye and Shirlea and Brian Hamilton were married May 8, 1950. Over next ten years, they were blessed with six daughters, Leigh Bagnall, Leslie Askew, Beth (Bruce) Reid, Jill DaSilva, Darci Hamilton and Chris Hamilton who died in infancy.
In 1963, the family moved to Cranbrook and Shirlea took a job at the Merc Department Store, then later the Copper Kettle Kitchen Boutique. How she fit this in with sewing circle, golf, bridge, her later volunteer work with the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop and everything else, is still a mystery. Bonds were created with many, and expanded to encompass everyone she came in contact with.
Shirlea had a heart of gold, always saw the good in people and lovingly took on the concerns of everyone she cared about. Through the ups and down of life she was the eternal optimist who had no doubt everything would work out for the best.
Shirlea had a zest for life, fully engaged the lives of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and was so excited for all their accomplishments, You could always count on Shirlea to be your biggest fan, greatest supporter, a shoulder to cry on, and the one person who would believe you were wonderful when you didn’t think so. Her family included every niece and nephew, for whom she became “their favourite aunt”, and she loved when they would stop in to see her.
The world will be dimmer now that Shirlea has left us, but the light she shone into our lives is reflected in all who met her and hope to be like her, and her legacy will be the years of happy
memories she leaves embedded in our hearts.
In addition to her five daughters, Shirlea leaves to mourn her eleven grandchildren, Phillip Blindenbach, Jen Hollick, Kyle Bagnall, Amy Deschamps, Shaun Askew, Cole Reid, Eric Reid, Cara Zeznik, Lisa Warren, Chris DaSilva, and Joel Hamilton; and fourteen great-grandchildren, Bluejean Hollick, Amelie Deschamps, Zoe and Alexa Reid, Noah McFadzen, Harper and Lily Reid, Linden and Jade Zeznik, Jack, Cole and Ben Warren, Abby and Lachlan Martin. She was predeceased by her husband Brian, daughter Chris, and grandson Ryan Martin.
A funeral will be held at Christ the Servant Parish, 1100 14th Avenue South, Cranbrook, BC, at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 6, 2017. If friends desire, donations may be made to the charity of your choice in Shirlea’s memory. Condolences may be left for the family at
Shirley (Shirlea) Anne Hamilton
February 9, 1928 – February 26, 2017