Shirley Ann Hayes Hargrove, a retired Baltimore City guidance counselor who served at Frederick Douglass High School and was recalled for her optimistic personality, died of cancer Jan. 3 at her home in the Annen Woods section of Pikesville. She was 92.
Born in Baltimore, she was the daughter of William E. Hayes Sr. and his wife, Mary Theresa. She was a member of St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in East Baltimore and was a 1947 graduate of Frederick Douglass.
She met her future husband, John Raymond Hargrove, through a mutual friend. Their first date included dinner and a trip to the movies. While at the theater, she fell asleep and later told her mother that she snored during her nap.
Her mother replied, “You can kiss him goodbye.” Instead, they were engaged in December and married the following June 27, 1953, at her church.
She earned a bachelor’s degree at what is now Coppin State University and later received a master’s degree at the Johns Hopkins University.
Mrs. Hargrove taught for 38 years in the Baltimore City Public Schools system. She taught at School 139 on Central Avenue at Lexington Street and at the Franklin D. Roosevelt School. She was a guidance counselor at Northern High School and was head of guidance at Frederick Douglass. She retired from Douglass in 1989.
“Her family meant everything to my mother,” said her daughter, the Rev. Dr. Lora F. Hargrove. “She loved spending as much time as she could with her children, grandchildren and friends. She thoroughly enjoyed traveling and after she became an empty nester, she traveled more frequently.”
Her nephew Erich March said: “She was always the life of the party. She was a beautiful spirit. Her hair was always perfect and she was a well-respected educator. She came from the era when teachers wore white gloves and carried a purse.”
Mrs. Hargrove and her husband enjoyed cruises and trips to France, Italy, Scotland, England and the Caribbean.
Mrs. Hargrove, who had an optimistic personality, left home each day saying, “Hello, world, here I am again.”
She took trips for many years with the Seniors on the Move to Atlantic City casinos.
“Mom had a golden touch when it came to winning on the slot machines,” her daughter said.
She called her summer vacation to Cape May, New Jersey, “one week of wonderful.”
Mrs. Hargrove was born on Christmas Day. She and her husband engaged in the Christmas spirit.
“He would make his Christmas eggnog and she her fruitcakes, always from scratch, which was a tradition that began with her mother,” her daughter said. “In the early days, she had to do the chopping of fruits and nuts herself.”
When asked about her Dec. 25 birthday, Mrs. Hargrove would say, “Can’t you see my halo?”
Mrs. Hargrove was a news junkie.
“CNN was her news outlet of choice during the early mornings and MSNBC throughout the day,” her daughter said. “She left room in the afternoons for ‘Judge Judy’ and ‘Days of Our Lives,’ which she had watched for its 56-year duration. In later years, she became a fan of the Hallmark channel with their Christmas movies.”
Mrs. Hargrove was a die-hard football fan. She and her husband had season tickets for the Baltimore Colts and Ravens.
In the early years of her husband’s legal career, she was active with the Maryland State Bar Association’s annual Atlantic City trips and was a member of the Lawyer’s Wives.
She belonged to the Ashburton Child Study Group, later the Ashburton Family Group, the Bon Bons, VIVA, Modern Grannies, and the Emanons. She was a bridge player and belonged to several bridge clubs.
“Being around my mother, one couldn’t help but to feel better and want to appreciate life,” her daughter said. “She was intentional and determined to live.”
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As she prepared for her 90th birthday party two years ago, she continued to tell anyone who would listen, “I’m living my best life right now!”
When she was asked about her secret to living a long life, her response was, “When you wake up, get up, because if you lay there you might not get another chance.”
She was diagnosed with cancer nearly two years ago and fought back.
“She was dubbed with another nickname, S.O.B. — Strong ol’ Believer — because of her faith in God and Strong ol’ Broad because of her amazing resilience through it all,” her daughter said.
John R. Hargrove, her husband, who died in 1997, was a senior U.S. District Court judge who was a pioneer in opening doors for African Americans in Maryland legal circles for nearly four decades. He was the first Black person to become a federal prosecutor in Baltimore and the first Black person to be named a deputy U.S. attorney.
When a new courthouse was completed and dedicated in his honor, Mrs. Hargrove was present at the ceremony with officials such as former Robert M. Bell, then the chief judge for the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Survivors include a son, the Hon. John R. Hargrove Jr. of Mount Washington; two daughters, Janet Ryczko of Walkersville and the Rev. Dr. Lora F. Hargrove of Owings Mills; and five grandchildren. Her son, Steven L. Hargrove, died in 2017.