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Shirley was born in Toronto, Ontario on September 14, 1953 to Ron and Irene French and was older sister to brother Greg. She met her husband John in 1969 in the pickle aisle of the grocery store where he worked.

Shirley attended the University of Toronto and graduated with a Political Science degree in 1976. After graduation Shirley was elected the first female president of the U of T Student Council in 1977. Shirley and John moved to Windsor, Ontario where daughter Laura was born (1978), and then onto London, Ontario where son Jordan (1982) and daughter Brooke (1984) were born. Shirley was a devoted “stay at home” mom to her 3 children.

In 1988, Shirley and John moved their family out West to North Vancouver. Shirley quickly became an active member in her new community volunteering her time at the kids’ schools. Shirley was always so giving with her time and energy. In 1997 Shirley became a licensed Realtor. Her goal was to be the #1 Realtor in North Vancouver in 5 years, a goal she accomplished in 3 years. She held this position for 4 years before forming a team and becoming the #1 Team in North Vancouver for 6 years. Shirley was delighted to have her entire family working together in the family real estate business. She was truly gifted at selling real estate and was proud to serve the North Shore community that she loved so dearly.

Shirley was known for her giving nature. She contributed generously to her community helping to build school playgrounds, funding high school scholarships, raising money and personally contributing to the Lions Gate Emergency Room Campaign and the North Shore Hospice. She was a proud supporter of Edgemont Village, and sponsored and helped organize yearly events. She was thrilled that having a real estate business gave her the ability to give back, this gave her great joy.

As a realtor, Shirley was known for always doing the right thing, her reputation was paramount and she was respected by her colleagues and peers. She built her business with hard work, a passion for systems and a genuine love of her clients and her job. Shirley devoured books on great business leaders and companies, went to seminars and conferences, and strived to be unique within the real estate business, doing things the way she thought they ought to be done.

When Shirley began in real estate, she worked from her home office and soon after she hired an assistant. Her husband John, already a commercial realtor, quickly saw the need to transition to residential sales in order to help Shirley with her flourishing career. They quickly outgrew the home office and moved to a few offices before purchasing their office in Edgemont Village in 2003. Shirley had a vision of growing a team that would best serve her clients needs, a team with listing agents, buyer’s agents and administrative support staff. Year by year, her team grew, as did her sales, eventually becoming a team of 10 including her husband and their 3 grown children. The Clarkes enjoyed working together in the amazing family business Shirley created.

Shirley lived life to the fullest. She enjoyed traveling the world with her family, and especially enjoyed her many visits to France. She was a trusted and loyal friend, and she cherished her relationships in the real estate and business community.

Shirley was diagnosed with ALS in October of 2008 and chose to battle this devastating disease in private, with her family. She had the joy of seeing her each of her children marry before she passed away. Shirley was a loving mother-in-law to Chris, Lauren and Rob. Shirley’s greatest joy was becoming a grandmother to Emerson and Charlotte. Shirley Clarke passed away peacefully at home on July 27, 2010 at the age of 56.

Shirley ensured that her family and real estate team had all the knowledge and systems in place in order to continue to run her business with the same high standards that she was known for. She would be delighted to see her legacy carrying on, and would be so appreciative of her loyal clients who have continued to work with Team Clarke.

It was Shirley’s wish that her children and company raise funds and awareness for ALS through Team Clarke’s events and that all the monies raised go directly to the ALS BC equipment loan program, providing equipment free of charge, to all ALS patients in BC. If you would like to have more information or to donate, please visit,