Beverly, MA — Shirley Surrette Duffy, the daughter of Eva D. (MacInnis) and Robert R. Surrette, was born in Addison Gilbert Hospital, Gloucester, Mass., on July 17, 1924. She died in the Beverly Hospital on April 26, 2013.
She was a graduate of Gloucester High School, Class of 1942, attended Salem State, and earned her bachelor or arts degree from Emerson College in 1946. After teaching in El Paso, Texas, she returned to Massachusetts to continue her studies. She was awarded a master’s degree from Emerson and later did post-graduate work in English at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where she completed her residence requirements for the PhD degree before returning to Gloucester once again to marry.
Her teaching career began at the Radford School in El Paso, where she taught speech and drama and subsequently became dean. In Massachusetts, after a year at Newton High School, she taught for several years at Gloucester High School, where most students remember her for directing numerous well-received plays. During her most productive period she was on the faculty of North Shore Community College, from which she retired as Professor of English in 1993.
Over the years she participated in numerous cultural and civic activities. For example, while in El Paso she was a member of Lois Kibbee’s Theater in the Round; on Cape Ann she assisted in delivering for Meals on Wheels; she was a member and past president of the Gloucester Woman’s Club and belonged to the Eastern Point Yacht Club. A resident of Essex since the 1970’s, she also served on the Essex board of Appeals.
She enjoyed travel and traversed most of the United States and Western Europe, she saw Egypt and Istanbul, but was particularly drawn to Nova Scotia, the home of her ancestors.
She was the author and co-author of several non-fiction articles dealing with nature and literature, as well as a novel, The Horus Perspective, based on her observations in Egypt.
She was pre-deceased by her parents and her beautiful young daughter, Andrea Cecily. The closest relatives surviving her are her first cousins, Patricia W. Ireland, Faye MacDonald, Eleanor W. Spence, Robert Whitten and Stanley Whitten. Among the many friends, former students and colleagues who will miss her are her long-standing, loyal pals, Stella (Kopanon) and Bob Gallant, Barbara Beyea, her “extended family” the Curtises of East Gloucester and Uta C. Merzbach.
ARRANGEMENTS: Her funeral service will be held on Wednesday at the Pike-Grondin Funeral Home, 61 Middle St., Gloucester at 11 a.m. Burial will take place following the service at the MacInnis family lot at Cherry Hill Cemetery.
Donations and remembrances honoring her may be sent to the Cape Ann Museum, 27 Pleasant St., Gloucester, the Sawyer Free Library, 2 Dale Ave., Gloucester; or the VNA Care Network and Hospice of the North Shore, 5 Federal St., Danvers, MA, 01923. For more information and to send online condolences, please visit www.grondinfuneralservices.com.