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Posted on June 15, 2015 | 9:45 a.m.

Shirley Seawards of Santa Barbara, 1929-2015

Source: Melissa Abrams

Shirley Seawards

Shirley Jean Seawards died June 11, 2015, from an aneurysm, surrounded by her family and close friend John Fritsche.

Born in 1929 in Waltham, Mass., she enjoyed visits to her grandparents’ farm in Maine and summers on lakes of New Hampshire. She attended the University of New Hampshire for three years until, to her parents’ dismay, she signed as a stewardess with American Airlines.

In 1955, she met another New Englander, Cecil Kendrick Seawards, and they were married shortly after in Los Angeles. In 1957, their daughter, Melissa, was born followed by sons Jeffrey, Paul and Richard.

Shirley and Ken built several homes in Santa Barbara, with mom at the helm of both design and construction. She blessed her family with wonderful healthy cooking, hand-knit sweaters, a zeal for adventure and lots of love. Sadly, son Paul died in 1983.

After the kids left home, she became a travel agent, and she and dad made many trips to every continent. Then came her most treasured role as “Grammy” — sharing her love of board games, puzzles and books with Ben, Austin and Danielle Abrams, Morgan and Sean Seawards, and Jon and Dylan Seawards.

After Ken’s passing in 2000, she met John Fritsche, who became her traveling companion and sweetheart for the last 12 years. Not one to slow down, she loved volunteering at Assistance League, and especially her involvement with the Ukulele LuLus, a group of women who bring joy as they sing and strum at charity events. She played her last “gig” just five days before her death. Shirley was a voracious reader and an intense Scrabble player. But nothing was more important to her than her kids and grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place at noon Tuesday, June 16 at Santa Barbara Community Church, 1002 Cieneguitas Road.

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