1936 – 2017
Shirley was born in Helena, Montana in 1936 and passed away on July 13, 2017 at 81 years young. Shirley and her family moved to Seattle in 1942. She was in the graduating class of 1954 from West Seattle High School, along with her sister, Barbara, where they were known as The Thompson Twins. Shirley met and married her high school sweetheart, Max Gordon Pruett, Jr. They built their first home in Normandy Park where they had five children. In 1966, Shirley and Max moved to Vashon Island to raise their family on a beautiful waterfront farm on the west side of the island. Shortly after moving to Vashon, Shirley joined Ryther, where she met many other moms, some of whom became her life-long friends.
Shirley had a great passion for gardening, where at one point, the property boasted over one hundred rhododendrons. Every Mother’s Day she would get a new rhododendron and was forever having the boys dig one up and relocate it to find its perfect spot. The Pruetts had a huge vegetable garden and fruit orchard, where Shirley enjoyed canning, cooking and her weekly Sunday bread baking. In addition to the garden and orchard, the family raised dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, guinea hens, peacocks, horses, cows, bees and a goat!
In 1971 Max and Shirley opened Max Pruett Insurance Agency on Vashon. Shirley continued to work in the office, Monday through Friday, 9-5, up until April of this year. She was very proud of the fact that she was still working full-time at 81 years old and would share that with anyone she met.
Shirley loved the outdoors. She and Max would take an annual hunting trip in the fall to a cabin in Okanogan, where she spent her days sketching and painting the landscapes and cabin, while Max was out hunting. They had a house in Coulee City for many years, where they enjoyed hunting, fishing and boating. In July they would travel to Sitka, Alaska, to fish for salmon, halibut and cod. They were members of the Bremerton Trap and Skeet Club where Shirley loved Sporting Clay shooting all year round. She entered several tournaments from some of which she took home first place! She was very proud of her shooting ability and shot so often, that Max would spend hours reloading her shotgun shells.
After Max passed away, Shirley continued her annual trips to Sitka with her children, eventually trading the Sitka trips for a condo on Maui. She even found a private gun club there where she would shoot. In addition to Hawaii, her travels took her to New York, Spain, England, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Vietnam, Thailand and Hong Kong. She also took an annual trip with her best friend, Norma Sather, to Norma’s horse ranch in Oklahoma where they spent hours watching the new foals and sunsets and just reminiscing.
Mom liked everyone she ever met, never spoke negatively about anyone or anything, and never complained. She always had a sunny, positive, and calm disposition. The single best word to describe Mom, whether you just met her or have known her for a lifetime, was “sweet.”
Shirley is preceded in death by her husband, Max, and more recently this past February, her daughter, Lauri May Pruett. She is survived by her children, Mike Pruett (Karen), Gwenn Polik (Dean), Chris Pruett (Cheryl), and Evan Pruett (Sarah). She is also survived by her beloved sister, Barbara Jean Mjelde, and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Mom’s Life will be held at the Vashon Sportsman’s Club on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at 3:00pm. Donations may be made to Eagle Mount Big Sky Kids, 6901 Goldenstein Lane, Bozeman, MT 59715; www.eaglemount.org.
We will remember Mom as a loving, kindhearted, and gentle spirit.
We miss you, Mom.