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Shirley Clapp Southworth, born in New Rochelle, New York, on Aug. 27, 1927, passed away on May 17, 2017, in San Diego, California, at the age of 89 from congestive heart failure.

Shirley was married for 54 years to Captain Harrison “Harry” Badger Southworth, U.S. Navy, deceased. She served as an outstanding U.S. Navy wife, her most memorable “duty” being “Hawkess One” of Attack Squadron VA-72 from 1965-1966. The foundational rock of her family and the squadron’s officer’s wives, Shirley was the solid secure anchor, always there to steady, counsel, and comfort her inexperienced young ladies, should they seek guidance in their lives or relationships, in matters of any kind, casual or serious. The influence of Shirley and Harry in the spirit of the surviving officers and wives of VA-72 is still strongly felt, as they remain a close-knit group, still gathering for reunions 50 years later.

Shirley is survived by her three children, Nancy S. Witkowski (a widow) of Wilmington, Delaware, Wendy S. Kitchen (David) of San Diego, California, and Harrison Belknap Southworth II (a widower) of Mathews. Additional survivors are her 13 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren, and one sister, Nancy Clapp Wiebe of Daniel, Wyoming.

Shirley was a graduate of Emma Willard High School and Russell Sage College in Troy, New York.

Close friends are invited to join the family at a short memorial service at Christ Church, 320 Williams Wharf Road in Mathews, at 11 a.m., Aug. 9. Shirley’s ashes will be scattered, together with her husband’s, on the surface of the Piankatank River, near their beloved home of 25 years, “Hawk’s Nest,” at Ginney Point, in a private observance, later that afternoon.