Shirley Dolores Hamby, a retired Lieut. Colonel of the United States Air Force Nurse Corps, died at her home in Katama on Sept. 7 surrounded by her family. She was 83. Shirley, a 30-year Vineyard resident, was born in Mattoon, Ill. on July 8, 1929 to Kenneth and Lillian Hamby.

She was a graduate of the Julia F. Burnham School of Nursing in Champaign, Ill., now known as the University of Illinois Nursing School. After nursing school she worked at several hospitals, but most memorably at Illinois Research in Chicago, on the polio unit.

Shirley entered the Air Force in 1962 and served in Mississippi, Texas, Illinois, New Hampshire, England, France and Turkey. She served as a flight nurse during the Vietnam conflict, flying out of Clark AFB in the Philippines transporting patients to Scott AFB in Illinois. She was a recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and RVN Gallantry Cross with palm.

While living here on the Vineyard, Shirley was extremely active in community activities. She was an avid bridge player, served on the board of the Martha’s Vineyard Council on Aging, was a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Club, volunteered for the Featherstone Center for the Arts, Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, the Vineyard Nursing Association and Red Cross blood drives.

She is survived by her brother, Warren Hamby (Patricia) of Loda, Ill.; her nieces and nephews, Annette Morrow (Glen) of Bonfield, Ill.; Cyndie Burgess (Don) of Breckenridge, Colo.; and Michelle Hamby of Loda; Bill Hamby (Jenny) of Plainfield, Ill.; and, Greg (LouEllen) Hamby of Fla. Also surviving are her grandnieces and grandnephews Gillian, Kyle and Hannah Morrow, Megan Burgess Hagood, Danny Burgess, Lindsy Hall, Sarah Evinic, Maggie and Ryan Hamby, and Palmer Hamby.

She was predeceased by her parents, older brother Gene Hamby, and her grandniece, Katie Burgess. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Oct. 7 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the MV Rod and Gun Club. It was Shirley’s wish that all memorials in her memory be made to the Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 399, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568 or Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA, 02557.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Please visit for online guest book and information.