Rotary Club of Winchester

Shirley R (Duffy) Potts

 

     
Of Winchester, May 4th. Beloved wife of the late Charles E. Potts, Jr.
Loving mother of Charles F. Potts of Winchester, Jennifer L. Potts
of Manhattan, NY and Christopher A. Potts and his wife Kathleen of
Andover. Sister of Robert E. Duffy of Winchester. Dear grandmother of Frank, Michael and Matthew Potts, all of Andover. A Funeral Service was held in the Parish of the Epiphany, 70 Church St., Winchester, MA 01890 on Thurs. May 8 at 9 AM. Shirley proudly served in the US Foreign Service in Germany, Mexico and India. Published in the Boston Globe on 5/6/2008.
The following eulogy was given by Shirley's Daughter, Jennifer L. Potts of Manhattan, New York and who has given permission to share with the club:
"Community and adventure are two things that Mom cherished.  And we all are so thankful to this community and to you all for her vibrant life - built by her friends, her family, this town.  She adored her communities, here and everywhere she traveled.
Mom turned loving community into an adventure - and she turned adventure into loving community.  Take the Rotary Club, for instance.  What a great organization for her.  She really worked diligently to build community with her Rotary activities here, bringing speakers to meetings, moving about town, merging her affiliation with the School Department with Rotary service interests and getting all those school desks sent to Honduras.  And almost everywhere she traveled, she found fellow Rotarians and participated in Rotary Club Meetings.
One experience in particular was so fine for her.  It was the 90's - Rotary had started to welcome women into Club membership and service.  And here's Mom, in Cairo, wondering what it will be like for her to enter a Rotary Club meeting in a country where women were not yet welcome.  And she told me, "it's my club too, and it's international and so am I."  She walked in, wearing her best clothes, straight and tall with her best travel cane, not knowing if this male-centric, conservative place would welcome her.
As soon as she entered the room. the local Rotary President left his conversation, went to the door to meet her and ushered her to the front of the room.  Everyone stood, she was welcomed, introduced and the meeting was declared open, in English.  She had such fun sharing Winchester Rotary experiences with her compatriots in Cairo.  And it was that way everywhere she went- Johannesburg, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manzanillo... she loved sharing culture.
And adventure!  She felt herself to be so fortunate!  Imagine - she got to meet and spend time with one of the most important adventures of the 20th century - Sir Edmund Hilary.  She and her colleagues were at the foot of Mt Everest when Sir Edmund Hilary and Tensing Norgay returned from the first successful ascent of that great mountain. She talked of how gentle the men were in speech and manner, and how overjoyed they were in their accomplishment.
And she was remembered.  I spent some time in Mexico City for work in the mid-nineties, and went to a particular hotel the diplomats had often stayed at in La Zona Rosa.  And there, the Concierge remembered her from her days in the Diplomatic Corps in the 1940s!  I guess her group had quite a fine reputation for throwing parties - diplomatic ones, of course.
Mom could organize adventures!  Just think of the Bargain Box at the EnKa Fair - she and Dad had so much fun helping to gather, display and sell all those donated items.  (That was an adventure of a different sort - one person's cast-off is another's treasure!)  Remember the Monthly Meals for Mortgage Money for this Parish?  And going to concerts, to Symphony, to Tanglewood, with friends.
Remember how Peg McCreary would call her up and say, "Shirley, what are we going to do today?", and all of a sudden, she and Dad would have a small group together to go on some adventurous day trip.  Who drove?  Charlie!  Who was in the car?  Charlie's Angels!  Who directed the adventure?  Shirley!
She loved coming to our elementary schools and showing slides of her adventures overseas.  This was one of the ways she brought adventures home, sharing her experiences with children in Winchester so they , too, could be enticed by different cultures, different places.  And the slide shows were excellent!  "Dear Mrs. Potts - I want to thank you for the slides of India you brought to school.  I especially likes the picture of the Taj Mahal."
I especially likes the picture of the snake charmer.  I think I like their clothes better that ours.
"It is interesting to see how people can be so poor and still so happy"
"I like your lecture because it was not boring like most lectures."
"I think I would like to live there and be a tiger catcher.  With the tigers I would make a tiger farm."
Mom loved being a Cub Scout Den Mother.  She is overjoyed that her three grandchildren are scouts now.  Actually, she is just completely overjoyed at being a grandmother; delighted to be called Nana.
She has taught us all a tremedous amount about living fully, being in community and having adventures.  And we, as her family, are so thankful to all of you, for standing in community and adventure with Mom, for your generosity towards her, for sharing your lives with her, for being excellent friends.  We miss her now, and always will.  Our hearts are filled with gratutude."
In memory of  Rotarian Shirley Potts
Tom Sevigny

.