Shirley V. Libby, 97: Homemaker stayed true to family, homeland

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PORTLAND — Shirley Virginia Libby, 97, died March 20.

She was born in Medford, Massachusetts, on Oct. 3, 1917, the youngest of five children of Albert Henry and Helen Frances (Ryan) MacMullan.

A true member of “the greatest generation,” Libby survived a difficult childhood, the Great Depression and World War II.

She and her future husband, Vernon P. Libby, hitchhiked in May 1935 from Massachusetts to Maine, where they were married.

Having grown up in an age of want, she practiced recycling decades before it became popular. Shirley also took enormous pride in keeping a neat, clean house, and was fondly remembered for ironing her children’s socks and underwear. 

She loved to dance, and also enjoyed knitting and crocheting for her family and friends. An avid reader, she pored over biographies of King Henry VIII. She treasured photographs of her family, particularly of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also was an enthusiastic walker, and didn’t drive until she was in her mid-60s.

As part of the celebration of her 80th birthday, she traveled to Ireland and London with two of her sons. In Ireland she visited Kilmeen, the village in County Cork where her grandmother was born and where her great-grandparents were married.

Her husband predeceased her in 1973. She was also predeceased by her three brothers and her sister. 

Libby is survived by her children, Shirley J. Atwood, of Wallingford, Connecticut, Gary W. Libby, of Portland, Ray A. Libby and wife Jody, of Portland, and Daniel P. Libby and wife Holly, of Westbrook; as well as her four nieces, three nephews, nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

A period of visitation was scheduled for Wednesday, from 5-7 p.m., at Jones-Rich-Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland. A funeral will be held there Thursday at 1 p.m. Burial next to Libby’s husband will follow at Evergreen Cemetery.

The Libby family would like to thank the employees of The Barron Center and of Life Choice Hospice, in Scarborough, for their care.

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