On October 12, 1950, Jack Minor and Barbara Rogers Minor brought their first daughter, Shelley, home to their pink house in the Cascade foothills. There she was surrounded by acres of fields, streams, trees, and farm animals. On August 21, 2018, Shelley died in her pink house on Bainbridge Island, surrounded by fields, trees and oft-escaping farm animals. In between, she led a beautiful life of exploring, teaching and making; the intricate marvels of nature were her life-long source of inspiration.
An intrepid Shelley led her three sisters—Anne, Leslie, and Candace, on field trips through the family property in search of blackberries, interesting plants and rocks, and ant hills. When they played school, Shelley became teacher, and when the Columbus Day gale blew in to celebrate her 12th birthday, Shelley delighted in its power, taking the scary out of the storm by explaining how to count the miles between thunder claps and lightning strikes.
Following her natural inclinations, Shelley earned degrees in horticulture, art, and landscape architecture, and later a master’s degree in education. She lived in Seattle, San Francisco, Alaska, Quito, Buenos Aires, Japan and Bainbridge Island. Her working life included dusty summers of picking strawberries, waiting tables in the U-district, designing trails and campgrounds for the U.S. Forest Service, developing vegetation management plans for King County, and teaching in Bainbridge public schools.
Shelley made things beautiful and made beautiful things: a drawing, a holiday table, her garden. She loved goats, roses, coffee on the porch in the morning sun, coyotes in the field and being a mother. She made exquisite works of art, excellent eggnog, and delicious fruitcake. Her art shows sold out. Flowers filled her house.
Shelley’s wedding to Kent Scott took place beside a rocky sea-star laden beach on Orcas Island in 1982. The first two years of a 36-year honeymoon began with one-way tickets to Ecuador, where Shelley’s adventurous spirit was on full display, whether swimming with piranhas in the Amazon or penguins in the Galapagos, or exploring a tin mine in Bolivia as dynamite exploded nearby. She kept this spirit in later travels, studying ikebana and teaching banana bread classes in Japan, hiking through Wadi Rum in Jordan, and exploring all corners of the Pacific Northwest. Everywhere she went, she found irresistible rocks for her pockets and filled sketchbooks with drawings, observations and specimens.
Back in Seattle came two children, Alexander and Hazel. Then a move to Bainbridge Island in 1988 to a historic home lacking electricity and running water, and surrounded by old-growth Scotch broom. There, for the next 30 years, Shelley with her family lived a life of books, baking, art, friends, gardening, teaching and travel, all shaped by her endless curiosity about the world.
Shelley lived with an elegant and nurturing presence. Candles, a wood stove, and baking warmed her house in winter. She looked forward to lambs and circus petunias for Alexander and Hazel in the spring. Summer meant camping, gardening, and Saturdays at Madrone Lane.
Fall brought quince, apples and pears, and the jewel-toned sparkle of jellies and jams.
A celebration of Shelley Minor will be held 1:30 to 3:30PM Sunday 14 October at Quince Farm 5973 Old Mill Road. Please come.