Tributes to Shirley Boberg Munyan

Longtime member of PPSEAWA USA and PPSEAWA International Council
Release Date: 
Sunday, 8 February, 2009

In remembering Shirley Munyan and her work, I would like to acknowledge that one of Shirley’s strong attributes was involving her friends and family in her projects. Her sister, Imogene [Pudge] Christian; her nieces, Ann Aurelius and Elizabeth Christian; her cousins, Corrine Pearson and Laurel Peterson; and nephew’s wives, Jeanne Aurelius and Louise Allstrom have been active members of PPSEAWA. A sister, Reverend Marjorie Aurelius gave the invocation for the Saratoga Conference in 1981. Shirley’s longtime, loyal friend Eleanor Donnenfeld worked closely with her on countless projects in PPSEAWA and the International Council of Women. Eleanor’s daughter, Dr. Penny Donnenfeld was a speaker at workshops that Shirley helped to organize. All of our lives were enriched through our experiences over more that 50 years with our dear Shirley. We who are family and friends will miss her vibrancy and energy.

Ann Aurelius, at-Large member PPSEAWA USA

From Tonga:

Shirley touched the life of each person in PPSEAWA who knew her. She was our strength when it came to funding projects for young people's forums, and when it came to getting young women from different countries, especially new countries, to Conferences.

When I first began attending PPSEAWA International Conferences, Shirley enabled the United Nations delegates to participate. She wanted us to to know what was going on in the UN and how we could get involved. She was instrumental in giving PPSEAWA our international outlook and involvement. She later took over our UNESCO desk and kept us all informed. I will always remember her special love and dedication to PPSEAWA.

The PPSEAWA members and organisation will miss Shirley Munyan dearly. My deepest sympathy to you, to Win and to the Munyan family.

Ófa atu,
Nanasipau`u Tuku`aho

Princess of Tonga

From Samoa:

I am sad to hear of Shirley's passing although it is not unexpected. My heart does go out to Winthrop and you of Shirley's family as her going will leave a big gap in the tapestry of your lives. For me, Shirley was a "big" woman. Her persona was encompassing and her pioneering spirit was quite fearless. So it was heartbreaking to see her the last time I was in NY as her eyes conveyed the bewilderment she was no doubt experiencing in being locked up by her illness. But those eyes also spoke of fighting - and she did fight the good fight. I send my most heartfelt condolences to you and your mother and to the families of both Shirley and Win. I shall of course ring and send my condolences to Winthrop.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will bring you comfort.

Fiame Naomi Mata'afa

Your message has been dreaded for some time and now it has come. I feel your deep sadness at the loss of a very dear Aunt. PPSEAWA has not been the same since Shirley had to give up attending meetings and being the driving force, not-so-behind the scenes! We have missed her larger-than -life presence, her carefully groomed bouffant hair, her somewhat stern but wise interventions, the banging on the table with a huge gold ring when she wanted our attention.
I know she loved PPSEAWA - she was PPSEAWA, and we adored her.

Please convey to Win our love and and deep sadness at her passing. All PPSEAWA embraces him and the family at this time.

With love and hugs,
Viopapa Annandale, PPSEAWA Samoa and International President of PPSEAWA

From Hawai’i:

I realize that some of you will remember this great lady, Shirley Munyan, of PPSEAWA USA. She last attended the PPSEAWA Conference in Singapore, 2004.

Allow me to briefly describe Shirley as I remember her. At many International PPSEAWA conferences, she was honored and praised for her dedication and contributions to further the goals of our mission statement. She remembered ever individual whenever we made contact. Her interests were many, but most of all she focused on the care for young women and girls.

About twenty years she served as our UNESCO representative in New York and Paris. She was a most successful fundraiser, in support of young women travels to our International Conferences and other women's meetings. She helped organize and finance Regional conferences with topics on Women and Children, and to build awareness of Health and Social problems. Two of these meetings took place in Honolulu. The proceedings are included in UNESCO's publications posted to this website. PPSEAWA Hawai’i has copies of them in its archives.

with Aloha,
Ulrike Siddiqi

PPSEAWA International Council,
'PPSEAWA International Young Women's Fund'
Please let me know if you are interested in a donation in honor of our most devoted PPSEAWA sisters, SHIRLEY MUNYAN.

PPSEAWA hasn't been the same without all the old-timers, either  locally or internationally. Shirley and Fetaui were the mainstays for  so many years, and everyone looked up to them for guidance and direction. Shirley was also so generous for projects and the scholarships she provided for so many young women to attend conferences. We have missed her presence at events, and shall miss knowing that she is still at home wishing us well.

I send a prayer for the departed which I use every day for Larry and other friends. Shall think of Shirley too when it is said. Maybe it will bring a bit of comfort.

Florence Kelley of PPSEAWA Hawai’i

From PPSEAWA Cook Islands:

You will know how very very sad I feel that Shirley has left us. You will also know how very dear she was to me, how wonderful she was as a friend.

PPSEAWA Cook Islands is planning a series of important Cook Islands Women speakers under the theme of "Women Who Inspire" and this programme is to be dedicated to Shirley who was without question one of the most inspiring
women in my life.

Please know that I send you and your family and please give this message to Winthrop - " I am thinking of you all with love"

With warm alofa,
Eleitino Paddy Walker

From Japan:

What sorrowful news to hear that Shirley passed away! I would like to express my deepest condolences. I remember her well when she attended the Mid-turn Conference held at NWEC in Japan in 2002. She attended the meeting far from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo to NWEC after a long drive every day.

She was spry and hearty. She encouraged us all. We will never forget her contribution toward PPSEAWA.

Michiko Homma, International Vice President and PPSEAWA Japan member

Please accept my deep sympathy. We all miss Shirley very much. Your Aunt Shirley was a confident lady and we respected her. Her wisdom and love to PPSEAWA International was great.

May God bless her.
Yukiko I. Backes, Japan

I am very sad to hear that Mrs. Shirley Munyan passed away on January 20. Please accept my sincere condolences.

I met her at the PPSEAWA International Conference held in New York in 1981 for the first time. I was so impressed that she worked so hard. We had her to thank for the every success of the Conference. I also met her in the Mid-Conference Meeting held in 2002 in Tokyo at the National Women's Education Center. During the symposium there I spoke about the significance
of CEDAW as one of the 4participants, and we had the sessions of discussion after the symposium. Shirley joined my discussion group and sat next to me during all the sessions held for two days. She seemed enjoying expressing
her opinions about women's roles in the society.

I sincerely pray for her rest in the Heaven after her precious contributions not only to PPSEAWA but also to the society.

yours sincerely,
Kumiko Nose, former president of PPSEAWA Japan

From Australia:

I was sorry to hear your sad news which although not unexpected will I am sure give great sadness to you and your extended family.

I think that I first really met Shirley at a workshop in Samoa which I attended as a delegate sometime between the Tonga and Malaysia conferences. She arrived at the hotel in Apia where the workshop delegates were staying, pulled out a wad of US dollars and distributed these to each delegate to cover our daily expenses!

Shirley used to send me faxes - working on New York time - our phone beside our bed would ring at about 2.30am. I would stagger down stairs to the fax machine. Eventually Alan and I set the phone to receive automatically. We were slow learners.

Of course, since then, I have met her at each following conference and was truly saddened when I last spoke to her.

Ann, I know that you will miss Shirley as your beloved aunt and I also know that PPSEAWA women will miss Shirley as a very treasured friend.

In love,
Mary Cabrera, PPSEAWA Australia and International 1st Vice President

From Malaysia:

We in Malaysia remember our dear Shirley with love and fondness. She lent her tireless support in all PPSEAWA activities and never failed to attend our Mid-term and Full term Conferences. She was there even when her health was failing. We shall miss her and we pray for her peaceful rest. Malaysia offers our deep condolences to you on the passing of your beloved Aunt. We will definitely make a memorial for Shirley in support of young women.

Rahmah, President PPSEAWA, Malaysia

From Fiji:

PPSEAWA Fiji sends you and your family our deepest sympathy on the sad loss of your dear aunt, Shirley Munyan, a lady we hold with high esteem for her tireless work and contribution to the betterment of women through her work with PPSEAWA. Those of us who have had the opportunity to witness Shirley in action know that she will be sorely missed for her dedication and genuine concern for PPSEAWA.

We pray that your family will be comforted with God's Peace and Blessings at this time of great loss.

Warmest regards,
Vesi Johnston, International Second Vice President

From New Zealand:

The news of Shirley's passing away is not surprising, but it brings sadness - for Win, for you, for each one of us who was touched by her life.

You are correct in describing her passing as 'the end of an era' for PPSEAWA. In many ways she made it possible for great women to do great things. By herself she would not have been able to do near as much as she accomplished by enabling others to stand tall with her in PPSEAWA.

There are many things I will remember Shirley for, but one in particular. I was in Fiji on 9/11. Princess Nanasi tried to get a hold of me urgently to contact Shirley. By the time I got the message, it was that the Princess was trying to get a hold of me because someone by the name of Shirley was missing in the disaster. I was horrified. It was several days before we had confirmation that Shirley, and all the PPSEAWA New York members were safe.

This time the message is true. Shirley has slipt away from us, but not before leaving a special imprint on our lives, on PPSEAWA and on the world.

May God uphold the family in a special way at this time,
Captain Kalo Fohe, PPSEAWA International Council

From USA:

We will greatly miss Shirley Munyan who has been a member of PPSEAWA-USA for too many years for me to remember. It probably is over 50 years. Shirley gave so much to our organization in time, money and devotion.

With heartfelt sympathy to Shirley's family and friends,


Ginney Schlicher, President PPSEAWA USA

My deepest sympathy to you, Win and Shirley's many relatives and friends. She was always so nice to me -- so considerate of me -- I was absolutely delighted that you invited me to "dine" with you all several years ago. I also remember the joy Shirley had in planning for her 80th birthday celebration in Paris. Although so very sad for so many, I am grateful that the Dear Lord has released her and now has her in his arms. I'll do my best to alert as many as possible in New York about her service.

My best, Janet Nixon, UNICEF Representative

It is always very sad when a person whom you have known for over two decades leaves us. I was just thinking of her and the difficult situation that she has faced in the last few years. She was certainly dedicated to PPSEAWA and gave it her all, though you know that we had our differences of opinion. I truly respected her and we understood each other. We agreed to disagree.
My heart goes out to Win, because he has lost his lifelong partner and friend. The rest of the family has lost the great presence in their life that Shirley represented. But I like to think, as the ancient Egyptians believed; "You never die if you are remembered." Shirley will certainly be remembered by all with whom she came in contact.

Teresa Hinzke, PPSEAWA Chicago and PPSEAWA Representative to CONGO

Please accept my deepest sympathies. Truly, an era has ended. Growing up, I always new that the Boberg sister named Shirley had gone to New York, worked at Macy's, married and traveled. I really owe it to you for giving me the opportunities to get to know her and Winthrop. Oh, the travels, adventures, and experiences we have had because of the kindness and generosity of Shirley and Win. From that first day, when she was visiting St. Paul and popped into my store and life, I have loved her. I loved her energy, her drive, her commitment to PPSEAWA, and her generosity in making so many amazing PPSEAWA experiences possible for me and for others.

I will write to Win. I can't imagine how hard this will be for him without his dear Shirley.

All my love and sympathy,
Corrine Pearson, PPSEAWA Minnesota and a cousin of Shirley

I am sorry to learn of Shirley's death. I remember her so well as the rock of PPSEAWA. For awhile I wondered if PPSEAWA could continue to exist without her strong guiding hand and her generosity. She was also always gracious and thoughtful. Her generous contributions financially supported so many worthwhile activities in PPSEAWA and I'm sure I only know a small portion of her largess. There are women throughout the Pacific who benefited from her ideas and her kindness.

Mom, Betty Landauer of New York, shared a birthday with Shirley. I know Mom will continue to think of Shirley every October.

How fortunate you were to have such a close relationship with your Aunt and to be inspired by her. You are right, she is the end of an era. My condolences.


Bettie Landauer-Menchik, PPSEAWA at large and USA Newsletter Editor

Editor’s note:

Space has not allowed for all the very kind and special messages received to be posted here. However, all of the messages have been given to Winthrop Munyan, Shirley’s sisters and other family members. We all are deeply appreciative of your messages of love for our Shirl and thank you.

Lillian Jasko, longtime treasured friend in PPSEAWA, will share your messages with all who gather in New York for the memorial service.