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Friends, family and the community said their final goodbyes to longtime residents Helen and John Shirley during a celebration of life service at Las Positas College on June 5.

Dr. John Shirley passed on Dec. 22, 2021, and Helen Shirley passed on Dec. 4, 2015. The couple was married for 64 years.

Former Livermore Mayor John Marchand officiated the event, which included guest speakers Mike Gilmore, commander of VFW Post 7265; Richard Jozefiak, organizer of the Rock of the Marne; Toby Knight, president of the Society of the Third Infantry Division; and fellow Rotarians, business associates and family.

John Shirley, a former mayor of Livermore, was a decorated veteran and distinguished for his efforts in battle. He received the Silver Star for Valor, Two Bronze stars with Oak Leaf Cluster, a “V” for valor device, a Purple Heart (for the “million-dollar wound,” which removed him from three months of hard winter fighting), and the European Theater Operation Medal with six campaign stars and a bronze arrowhead for one invasion. He also received the French Fouragère de Guerre.

The service ended outdoors with a 21-gun salute and the Beech Boys Missing Man Flyover, an aerial salute where the planes fly in a formation with a space where one plane should be, symbolizing the person's absence.

“Dad was one of our great American heroes,” said a statement released by the Shirley family. “He was an amazing father, grandfather, great-grandfather, husband and friend. Everybody loved him. Dad was a very special person, and we will miss him very much. He was our hero and such a great example of how to live life to the fullest.”