Posted by Tim Bendokas
When women were (finally) allowed to join Rotary in 1987, Shirley Lansing was one of the very first. Records indicate she was the fifth woman admitted to Seattle #4.  At the time, Seattle Rotary was the largest Rotary Club in the world, with over 700 members, and her presence was huge.  As one can imagine, the Club sought out the most respected, highest-profile, successful, and dynamic women in the community. It was no surprise Shirley was among the first.
Shirley’s Classification was “Employment Agency – Local.” She was president and sole owner of General Employment Service, Inc. She was already known to scores of Rotarian, having done business with so many.
It’s also interesting to note that earlier in her career, she worked for the US State Department and the Rand Corporation. She had some mighty interesting stories of those days!
What struck us most about Shirley was her kindness, her friendliness, and her gregarious nature. She immediately rolled up her sleeves and jumped into the work of Rotary with both feet.
As Seattle Rotary members have always included some of the most significant business and community pillars among its membership, and sadly most of us never learned of their achievements until after they died and were remembered from the podium.
Shirley was troubled by this, so she single-handedly established a new committee in the Club called “Seattle Rotary Heroes.” The committee researched, wrote, and delivered these life stories to the membership. Her goal was to highlight these members’ achievements while these folks were still alive, so other members could meet and get to know these giants.
Shirley was a deeply caring person and brought this love for others with her to the Club. Appropriately, she also established our “Rotary Cares” committee and subsequent efforts. Shirley felt it so important to ‘be there' for any member in any sort of pain. She helped us learn to be there too.
“Back when” Rotary had a little musical group, called the “Rotary Rogues.” (This was the original group, not to be confused with the current musical group of the same name). Then, like now, the Rogues mostly entertained at various Rotary functions.
Wanting to be a part of the group, she stepped and became a member, serving as the vocalist for the ensemble. Because the group had existed for years, it was comprised exclusively of male members. Breaking down yet another barrier, Shirley became the Rogues’ first female vocalist and member.
In 2015, Shirley was elevated to the status of “Honorary Member.”  Honorary membership is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a club member, and all club members voted unanimously to honor her in this way.
Throughout her time in life and then in Rotary, Shirley served others, never once seeking recognition or accolades for herself. She epitomized Service Above Self.  We remember many things about Shirley - her faith, work ethic, positive outlook, and beautiful smile. All were displayed no matter what her current circumstances might have been.
Most of us have not seen much of Shirley since she moved out of state, but for those who had the honor of knowing her, now there is a hole in our hearts that cannot be filled by anyone else.
She inspired us, served us, helped us grow, and loved us all unconditionally. By now, she has already been told, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Of this, there is no doubt.
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