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DIA Volunteer at Rivera Court
DIA Volunteer

Volunteer Award Winner:
Shirley Curtis

Staff Aides - 2000

The Staff Aides Committee is pleased to recognize Shirley Curtis as Volunteer of the Year for 2000. An active volunteer at the Detroit Institute of Arts for 17 years, Shirley currently devotes her volunteer hours working with the Staff Aides Tuesday group on the Rivera Balcony. She proudly declares the important role Staff Aides hold at the DIA and hopes that the committee’s service expands to augment not only the needs of the DIA staff through the Concierge and Usher Programs, and also service the Volunteer Service Committees as well.

Shirley has been a prominent leader for the Staff Aides over the years holding the position of Vice Chairman in 1992 and 1993 and Co-Chairman in 1998. This year, Shirley takes on a new challenge as Vice-Chairman for Records and Awards of the Volunteer Committee.

She chose the Staff Aides in 1983 inspired by the speech of Alice Hoffer at the Volunteer Orientation. Over the years, Shirley has had the opportunity to become familiar with various areas of the museum having worked with Staff Aides in headquarters which included the current Volunteer Room, the student lunchroom (now the Studio), the Rackham Building, and the present Development area, to name a few. Currently, Shirley and her colleagues work in the former Founders Lounge overlooking Rivera Court.

Shirley loves to travel. After a trip around the world in 1992, she became a member of the Circumnavigators, and has recently visited Ireland, Turkey and Greece. In 1999, she flew to Europe with the Nomads on the Concorde to Paris and returned on the luxury liner QE2. Five grandchildren keep her occupied when she is not volunteering. Shirley loves to read British murder mystery novels in quiet moments and for philanthropic fun is an active member of the Daughters of Erin (Court 6), Detroit.

Shirley is retired from Michigan Bell Telephone Company. When still in high school, she was employed in the Centerline office and subsequently worked in offices on the east side of Detroit, Mt.Clemens and Port Huron. Many of the friends she made there are currently volunteering with her now! Former colleagues from her "work life" include Mary O’Connor, Bernadette Harris and Mary Ellen Crane, the close-knit group that has become part of the bedrock of the Staff Aides Committee, plus Ruth Brown and Virginia King from Gallery Information. Dubbed by Walter Daniel, Staff Aides Office Manager, they are known collectively as the "Bell Girls."

Why does Shirley continue to volunteer at the DIA after almost two decades? One motivating factor is the continuation of close friendships cemented over the years. The Staff Aides Committee and the DIA are fortunate to have Shirley Curtis on its roster of dedicated volunteers. Congratulations, Shirley, from a grateful committee.

--Submitted by Peter Milne

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