Shirley Ⓥ Wilkes-Johnson - We're Grateful For The Gift Of You!

>>  Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This post is to honor the life of Shirley Ⓥ Wilkes-Johnson who this last Saturday April 9th, left this limiting Earth to continue her journey on higher ground.  The animal rights and vegan community owe her a great debt of gratitude for her ceaseless energy advancing this movement.

Like many other friends, I met and knew Shirley through Facebook.  Her comments were always insightful and orderly.  There was no doubt that her words and ideas reflected a person devoted to reason, justice and compassion.  She was a remarkable woman with an extraordinary life.  The founder of the Lone Star Vegetarian Network.  She organized the first Vegan Chili Cook Off in Austin, Texas in 1988 and co-hosted the Vegan World Radio show that will broadcast a memorial tribute to her life this 4/13/2011 evening. Her colorful background and many accomplishments are too numerous to cite - There's a more complete list of her many achievements at Vegan.com .

On a more personal note, Shirley had a reverence for life that was obvious in all her activities and posts on Facebook. Her comments were always wise, sometimes resulting in (my) profound healing.  She was a constant source of enthusiasm and encouragement... And as a visionary, she saw all shifts of progress to a better world, no matter how small, as a positive step in the right direction.  And if news was troubling, her empathy was always sincere but spiced with her special intuitive interpretation that would accentuate the good.  Her energy was irresistible!  You just could not keep this tireless animal advocate and peace lover down!  I think to Shirley all experiences were chances for lessons - And she was one of life's most astute students!

To me she approached the challenges of the world like she did her fabulous cooking: with gusto, honesty and joy.  She knew it would be hard work to get our planet-saving messages out - And she never shirked a moment from the job at hand.  Shirley was also a clever wit with her unique perspective on things and the way she saw that they ought to be: "Creating a compassionate vegan world is the most important social change the world has ever seen. I want to get beyond this so we can just play."

Shirley will also be remembered as an intriguing story teller... Copied from her Facebook notes she fashions an intelligent and plausible view of the history of ethical veganism, as well as many other interesting observations and writings.

Added to these gifts Shirley also made her home and garden a fitting retreat that honored and protect nature.  Here are a few of her Reports from Paradise:

When I walk out the back door, the heavenly perfume of orange blossoms from my orange trees makes me swoon. When I walk out the front door, I become intoxicated by the perfume of lemon blossoms from my Meyer Lemon tree wafting through the air. There must be literally a million blossoms on the lemon tree driving the bees insane.
Save money by sharing plants with your friends and neighbors. This lush stand of amaryllis came from my friend Marie's yard years ago and they keep spreading.
Metamorphosis: Here are two caterpillars that will be forming a chrysalis soon and will emerge as black swallowtail butterflies. Their host plants are dill and parsley.
Black Swallowtail. Isn't she beautiful? This afternoon less than a half dozen honey bees. No bumblebees, which have until recently been numerous. The Indigo Spires is usually swarming with bees - but the butterfly gives me hope. Did you know that they used to be called flutterbys? Quite appropriate.
To sit with a good book and a glass of strawberry lemonade in the dappled sun in my favorite room, our back yard. Heavenly!
 ***************** 
Hi Shirley - The monarchs and swallowtails should be dancing around your milkweed soon - They are ever so grateful that you planted them there for them! The amaryllis you shared are spreading everywhere! Your favorite chair in the intermittent light of Paradise gives rest to us all! And a fragrant citrus breeze brings us a comfort in knowing that the only things that matter, always were - And always will be.  Even through the variables of shape, form and content, nothing can ever compromise their essence. 
Enjoy your day Shirley - We've got the whole animal rights, vegan thing covered! 
We won't let you down! ;)

I can't count the times you're sage words and passionate certainty of an evolved culture made my circumstances easier to cope with. The world became clearer seen through your mind's eye.  I will always be thankful for knowing you and blessed to call you my friend. You'll forever be in my ♥.
Bea Elliott 4/13/11

3 comments :

SBH CLAY April 14, 2011 at 8:08 AM  

What a beautiful tribute from one beautiful Vegan to another beautiful Vegan.

The photos from Shirley's garden that you so thoughtfully found and posted, Bea, are a particularly fitting way to remember her.

The visuals show how Shirley never "took" from the earth or its inhabitants. Rather, she continually "gave" back, nourishing and nurturing everything and everyone on the planet, from the butterflies and bees who flourished among the flowers she planted to the larger creatures who learned life's lessons sitting in that garden chair and reading such brave books as The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle.

And do I see a red strawberry in the shape of a HEART OF LOVE poking out of that glass of lemonade on the little table beside the chair?

Thank you, Bea, for honoring one of GOOD's angels.

Shirley, wherever you are, we trust you are still sharing your exuberance, your joy, your compassion, your vision and example of peace, and your fabulous cruelty-free recipes on the Great Beyond's Facebook and Vegan Universe Radio. And surely, Shirley, there's a vegan chili cookoff in your forever life?

Yes, we're grateful for the gift of you--the gift that never stops giving.

Anonymous April 20, 2011 at 5:50 AM  

Thank you for the work you have done into the post, it helps clear away a few questions I had.

Bea Elliott April 23, 2011 at 1:24 PM  

Hi SBH CLAY - Thanks for confirming what I was hoping for... That Shirley would have liked this post.

And now I have even more connections to flowers, bees, "flutterbyes" and birds, all in appreciation of knowing her AND you!

Yes, I find that that's what all beautiful people do for each other... They nurture an ever deepening love for the Good in life! What Shirley has given to this world will far outlast any material thing, already destined to dust.