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Shirley J. (Goodman) Kirshner

February 8, 1923 ~ January 28, 2019 (age 95)


Shirley Kirshner, internationally syndicated columnist for senior focused newspapers, and poet died on January 28. She was 95.

The cause of death was complications from a fall.

Using her maiden name, Shirley Goodman, Mrs. Kirshner wrote a whimsical monthly column, Behind my Bifocals, for a Cincinnati senior newspaper. The column was well received and syndicated to English language senior newspapers. For years she kept and liked to show a royalty check from India.

Shirley Kirshner was born February 8, 1923 in Toledo. Her father, Abraham Goodman, owned and operated Goodman Bakery and Feldman's Bakery. Her mother, Bessie Goodman, was a homemaker.

During prohibition the Licavoli gang did not want any of its members posting bond for another member and they took advantage of the fact that Mrs. Kirshner's father always had cash from the day's receipts threatening to kidnap the little girl if when they called him her father failed to bail out an arrested gang member.

After graduating from Scott High School, Mrs. Kirshner attended Lindenwood College where she studied sociology with Jessie Bernard a scholar in the vanguard of American sociologists. After the United States entered World War II, under Dr. Bernard's direction, Mrs. Kirshner conducted what at the time was a novel study of race as a factor in Americans' attitudes toward the war.

Following graduation, Mrs. Kirshner studied poetry with Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Leonora Speyer.

In 1948 she married a law professor, Lewis Kirshner and settled into the role of homemaker.

Following her husband's death in 1978 Mrs. Kirshner returned to writing. She, along with artist, Carol Block, and composer Margaret Weber, founded the Toledo Chapter of American Pen Women. .

Her poetry appeared in many magazines and journals. She represented Ohio in the initial issue of Golden Gate Review and her poems were published in Frog Gone Review, Bad Haircut, Ohio Poetry Day Annuals, Adventures in Poetry and The Jewish Spectator.

Mrs. Kirshner established a salon at her home for area poets, Winston, Ruth Forman, Marian Goldner, E. Jane Johanson, Florence Lever and JoAnne Niswander. Their work was collected and published as the book One Day at Shirley's.

Mrs. Kirshner was physically active almost to the end of her life and she accounted her longevity to the twice weekly workouts with trainer Dan Pfitzer. Until her early 90s she walked six miles a day on a treadmill. Her training regime was featured in a Toledo Blade human interest story.

She is survived by sons, Alan and Geoffrey Kirshner, daughter Deborah Kirshner-Heldman, grandchildren, Joshua, Adrienne and Sam Kirshner, Alex Heldman, Lianna Heldman Kraemer and Dr. Madeline Heldman.

Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday January 30, 2019 in the Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Funeral Home 2426 North Reynolds Rd. (419-535-5840). Interment Beth Shalom Cemetery.

Memorial donations are suggested to the Toledo Symphony.

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