‘Endowed of both head and heart’
Born Feb. 12, 1868, in Pennsylvania, Lillie Bowlby came to Marion Centre with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Bowlby, in 1881 at age 13.
In June 1888, around when this photo was made, she became valedictorian of her high school class and “won new laurels in her admirable analysis of ’Genius and Talent’ and their practical application in life.” Her valedictory remarks to teachers, classmates, the school board, and friends of the school were “pretty and touching,” the Marion Record reported.
When she was 19, she presented a paper, “The lessons the heathen may teach us,” which caused the Record to describe her as “a young lady who is richly endowed both in head and heart, who occupied most acceptably the embarrassing position of leader of a monthly missionary exercise by the YWCA.“ She also taught Sunday school for what now is Valley United Methodist Church.
In April 1890, she married to George Shirk, cashier of Lost Springs State Bank, and the couple moved there. They had six children. The family later moved to California, where George died in 1929 at age 63 and Lillie in1955 at age 87.