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Juneau-Douglas City Museum

Davis, Shirley Maxine

by Constance Davis

Shirley was born in Juneau in 1925. She started piano lessons with her mother at an early age, and began cello lessons in her early teens from the family’s new neighbor across the street. The cellist, Edythe Rowe, was a member of the Sacramento Symphony and a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony. The Rowe family was to be in Juneau for two years, long enough for a good foundation on the instrument. Scouting was an important part of life during these years and Shirley enjoyed archery at scout camp and continued with the Archery Club in high school. She played in the school orchestra and was a pianist for the Glee Club. Busy with the Drama Club and performing in school plays, Shirley became interested in local radio drama, and also worked with her mother, sister, and other artists as The Aurora Trio on KINY radio.

After graduation from high school, Shirley joined sister Sylvia at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Drama, and later they both moved to New York City where Shirley studied drama at the Feagin School of Radio and Drama.

After her marriage to J. Anthony Reed, she gave birth to three children. When visiting in Juneau, guest appearances at musical functions still played an important part in her life, including the vacant concert seat left by the death of sister Patte. Shirley’s expert technique and interpretation were well appreciated.

Shirley’s family relocated in the Los Angeles area. She divorced her first husband and married William Mowrey. They moved to Juneau in 1972, with her youngest daughter. She wrote, produced and sold two radio shows presented daily at KJNO and later headed the Sales Department. Continuing the same work with KINY, she became their National Sales Coordinator and Traffic Manager. Shirley maintained a piano and cello class, and played with the Juneau Symphony.

Tragically, her husband died in an accident on the Prudhoe Bay pipeline where he worked. Eventually, Shirley and daughter, Rachelle, moved to Santa Cruz to be near the rest of the family. During the past decade, she has focused on working in Advertising and Sales as arthritic fingers gradually diminished her musical abilities. She is proud to be listed in the January 1998 Who’s Who in Women and Management. The family is now residing in the San Diego area.

Shirley Maxine Davis