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Shirley Sampson - a remarkable woman, resident at Kapara

A life of kindness and service

We headed to Kapara Residential Care Home to meet Shirley Sampson, OAM. Shirley is not just your average 99-year-old; her commitment to helping others reminds us all of the importance of kindness.

How would you introduce yourself?

I’m Shirley, born in Port Pirie in 1925 to parents Rose and John. As an educator and volunteer, I’ve been involved in various community activities, serving as a Justice of the Peace and receiving the Order of Australia Medal.

Family is dear to me. I have three wonderful children, six grandchildren, and eleven great grandchildren. Additionally, I held a range of positions within the community. I am very community minded and always willing to assist others.

I believe that a good life is to be kind and loving to all people.

Can you tell us about your upbringing and early life experiences that have shaped who you are today?

My upbringing was filled with encouragement and support from my parents. My father, especially, emphasised the importance of education in unique ways. My mother’s quiet strength and love taught me compassion and the value of nurturing others.

My father went around the world and he wrote a diary, and handed that diary to me. And that was my aim too – to get around the world and not to get into any trouble. My father let me do anything I wanted to do knowing I would not hurt anybody.

My mother was very quiet. She loved cooking and she loved doing the housework. I had a lovely mother. She also let me do whatever I wanted to do, because she knew I wanted to do it right.

What initially drew you to your chosen field or profession, and how did your career journey begin?

Sharing my knowledge as an educator was my calling. Later, I became a Justice of the Peace and a magistrate, driven by a desire to help and educate others.

What are some of your proudest achievements outside of your professional life?

Preserving family history and exploring different cultures through travel bring me immense joy. Being a life member and past President of the Holdfast Bay Bowls Club holds a special place in my heart as it signifies years of dedication to my community.

Shirley Sampson, a remarkable 99-year old Kapara Residential Care resident.

Shirley’s journey reflects a life of kindness, resilience, and a commitment to serving others. Her positive outlook, genuine compassion, and active involvement in her community are inspiring to all who cross her path.

Shirley was awarded OAM in 2014, and besides other achievements, acknowledged in the 2017 South Australian Women’s Honour Roll.

As published in the 2017 South Australian Women’s Honour Roll

Shirley Sampson OAM
An inspirational role model

Shirley presided on the bench as a Magistrate in several courts prior to her retirement including the Adelaide, Port Adelaide and Christies Beach Magistrates Courts (1978 – 1995), and has had long-standing involvement with the Royal Association of Justices of South Australia including as a Member of the State Council, Royal Association of Justices of South Australia. Shirley is also a Justice of the Peace, and still volunteers as a JP at various sites including nursing home visits.

Shirley has held a range of positions within the community including being a life member and past President of the Holdfast Bay Bowls club, a foundation member of Genealogy SA, and library volunteer. Shirley was part of the Voluntary Missions Service, Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints from 1984-2004. As well as significant community involvement,
Shirley has received a number of awards including the Service Award for Community, Justices of the Peace Services, City of Holdfast Bay; Recognition Award, National Day for Older Australians, and Certificate of Appreciation, Royal Association of Justices of South Australia, Port Adelaide and Districts Group.

Shirley is passionately community-minded and always willing to assist others. She never hesitates to offer her services to assist wherever possible. Her positive influence, longstanding commitment, resolute work ethic and outstanding dedication that she holds for South Australia and the Glenelg area in particular, make her an inspirational role model to other volunteers.


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