FALMOUTH - Shirley Alice (Collins) Rowley, 86, passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family at Maine Medical Center on June 23, 2014. She was born in Medford, MA, on June 5, 1928, and was the daughter of the late William Eastwood Collins and Alice Mercer (Robinson) and her second Mother, Anne Constance (Nasukaitis) Collins.
She grew up in Worcester, MA, graduated from Bancroft High School in 1946, and received her Bachelor of Music Degree with a major in organ from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. She received her Master of Arts Degree in Church Music from Boston University in 1952. Shirley served as Organist and Choir Director at the Chestnut Street Congregational Church in Worcester, MA, and was the Minister of Music at the Union Congregation Church in West Palm Beach, Florida. She married the late Stewart Kimmel Rowley on October 11, 1958, in West Palm Beach, FL. After Stewart's ordination as a United Church of Christ Minister in 1959, Shirley served as an Organist and Director of Music, where Stewart served as Minister in Fair Haven, Vermont, Springfield, Vermont, and Ellsworth, Maine. After Stewart's retirement, they returned to Worcester, MA, in 1988 and lived at 61 Monterey Road, where Shirley grew up. While in Worcester, she served as Organist at First Congregational Church (UCC) in Holden, MA, for two years and as Organist and Director of Music at the Evangelical Congregational Church in Grafton, MA, for five years. She has been a teacher of piano for more than fifty years and she and her husband both officially retired and moved to Westbrook, Maine in 1998. They then moved to Falmouth, Maine, in 2005.
She is survived her daughters, Dr. Constance Anne Rowley-Colombo and husband, Daniel T. Colombo, and son, Nathan, of White Lake, Michigan, and Carol Sue (Rowley) Kloth and husband, David P. Kloth, and daughter, Kristen N. Kloth of Falmouth; and a sister in-law, Hazel E. Rowley of Falmouth. Shirley had four brothers that predeceased her, Clyde R.E. Collins, John F. Collins, Charles L. Collins and William E. Collins, Jr.; along with several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend visitation from 2:00 PM to 4:00PM on Sunday, June 29, 2014, at the Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland. A memorial service will be held on Monday, June 30, 2014, at 4:00 PM at the Falmouth Congregational Church, 267 Falmouth Road, Falmouth, with a burial to follow at Blanchard Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Shirley's memory to the Falmouth Food Pantry, 271 Falmouth Road, Falmouth, ME 04105. To leave messages of condolence please visit www.jonesrichandhutchins.com.