Shirley Maiewski: A Tribute

Continuing a tribute for Shirley Maiewski, long time head of STAR TREK WELCOMMITTEE who passed away in April, 2004.  The entry page to Shirley Maiewski: A Tribute

Part of A Companion in Zeor
Remembrances, for inclusion, can be e-mailed to Karen MacLEOD

Author -- Howard Weinstein

Back in 1974, I was lucky enough to enter a fairly exclusive club when I sold a script to the animated NBC revival of STAR TREK. Little did I know then that I'd start on a "trek" of my own that still hasn't ended. I was a University of Connecticut senior at the time, and just before graduation, Jeff Maynard's travelling STAR TREK multi-media show came to the UConn campus. I introduced myself to Jeff and volunteered to talk to the audience and answer questions while he was setting up. Jeff accepted my offer, and that's when I met some of the Welcommittee gang for the first time. Joel Davis was there, and he introduced me to Shirley. Well, I'd already heard of the Welcommittee and knew about their role in keeping STAR TREK afloat, so meeting Shirley was a special treat. Later that year, during the summer, I drove up to Massachusetts for a Boston Star Trek Association gathering with Joel and we visited Shirley at her home.

And after that, as I started doing guest-speaking appearances at STAR TREK conventions and then writing STAR TREK novels, well, Shirley always seemed to be there. And I have some very distinct memories of an annual Labor Day weekend party (dubbed "Shore Leave") hosted by Lani Litt at her parents' sprawling home north of New York City (in Westchester or Rockland...Larchmont, maybe?), and Shirley was there, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned "Grandma TREK" (Joan Winston wore one that said "Mama TREK"). It's hard to believe that was over 25 years ago!

As time went by, I didn't see Shirley as often, but whenever our paths would cross, she was always gracious and warm -- unless someone behaved badly, and then, as I recall, Shirley's voice and eyes would flash a little of that flinty New England disapproval. Transgressors would know they'd better shape up. People not only loved Shirley, they respected her.

I don't know how she'd prefer to be remembered. But her Welcommittee work helped keep STAR TREK alive, and STAR TREK has shaped my life in more ways than I can count. There's a Yiddish word: mensch; it loosely translates to "human" in the best sense of the word. I can't think of a better way to describe Shirley. I hope her family knows how much she'll be missed.

Friend -- Judy Segal

Hi Jacqueline

I was shocked and saddened to learn of Shirley's death. Thank you for telling me and I wish it hadn't been necessary. I saw her last about a year and a half ago, in October, when friends and I were in her neighborhood and we stopped by to see her. She said something about being in remission from cancer, and she was doing well, albeit a bit skinnier than usual. She was her usual gracious and welcoming self, greeting my friends with warmth and friendship and showing them around her Star Trek room and sharing the STW Table Cover with us. I think I sent you a picture of that event.

You introduced me to Shirley when you had the idea of drafting me to do the STW Directory, since Allyson Whitfield was no longer able to do it. I know that it was at some convention or other, but I've forgotten when and where. It was in the early 80's I think. Fran Hitchcock was publishing it, and I was editing. I stayed with the Directory til the last two or three issues, when someone with a computer and the related skills took it over. At first I just edited it, and then took over publishing it too. And it was a job I enjoyed immensely.

Shirley was an admirable person to be in charge of the operation. She had a clear vision for what she wanted the STW to do, and was clear-headed in her vision of what her volunteers should and should not do when answering letters. She was able to articulate her vision without being abrasive and confrontational, and was truly a pleasure to work with, and for.

My acquaintanceship with Shirley was broad, if rather shallow. We met only at conventions and on two or three occasions when I visited her home. Once I stayed overnight and showed her grandchildren how to make home-made ice cream, and once we met to attend a collectibles/antiques show together. She was a wonderful hostess, and visiting her was fun. On one occasion she was hosting the local Star Trek club for a yearly barbecue and I was there. It was a hugely rainy day and while we watched, the above-ground pool in her side yard collapsed with a wonderful sploosh. Sher took it in stride.

Shirley shared her house with not only her husband Phil but with her daughter Carol Jackewich, Carol's husband Ed and their three children, Tim, Christine and Peter. It was obvious that they were the center of her life. She shared the farm with 2 horses (Carol's) a variety of dogs and cats, and with acres and acres of potatoes. Phil made his living as a potato farmer, and Shirley was basically a farmer's wife, but an unusual one. Her first love was opera, and she spoke of her experiences in NYS attending all sorts of operas . She worked for years in the bookstore of UMass in nearby Amherst, and was good at her job. She was a loving mother, a doting grandmother, a fine friend and a caring and wonderful person.

The front room of her wonderful old farmhouse was her study, her Star Trek room, walls of books, posters and collectibles, desk and big pool table in the middle loaded with more book and papers all relating to Trek. She took her responsibilities seriously and was the absolutely ideal choice to run the STW for as long as she did. She kept up a voluminous correspondence and even though she had web access and e-mail, she rarely used it, preferring handwritten notes.

The death of her husband Phil a few years ago was hard for her. But she lived surrounded by her family and friends, and they were all as caring, warm and decent as she was. They were fortunate to have her for as long as they did. Most kids don't have the chance to know a grandmother as well as hers knew her.

Shirley was a good woman, in the finest sense of the word. I didn't see her often but I know I will miss her. I had sort of assumed that she would always be there, ready to write back if I got in touch with her, ready to receive me if I found myself in her area. Ready too to come with me to the Amherst Teddy Bear Rally, the Springfield Antiques and Collectibles Show, ready to talk opera, books, home and family, politics, farm products and prices, Trek, Trek and more Trek. I indeed will miss her.

LL and P

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