Index of Posts: Slices of Shona's Life
Memories of Shona

From Jane Emley

Rememberances of Shona

Shona had an easy grace that made you feel right at home. With her winsome charm, she would light up a room as soon as she entered. Her nose, gently up-turned, was impish and beguiling. Her radiant smile was an invitation to laughter. Her warm hazel eyes were vibrant and penetrating, revealing of the keen and acute intellect that propelled her insatiable curiosity. The roundness of her rosy cheeks seemed to embody the way she so fully embraced life. She was an exuberant woman with an infectious laugh. Shona was a kind and generous soul. She was an authentic and free spirit.  I will miss her so much.

In the very deep sorrow that I feel at her sudden death, there is some measure of solace in knowing that her last year in Florence was so  rich. She was always so at home in Italy. It is comforting to know that she was doing what she loved, and being recognized for her ground-breaking scholarship; her last year had been very full and rewarding indeed.

I met Shona while studying in Italy in 1983. Back then, it was impossible to see her on weekends because she was always jumping on another train- ready to go off exploring. While many of of us would be sleeping off the previous night's festivities, Shona would be roaming the back streets of some small Italian village. She visited countless cities, towns and, churches during that year.

While studying at the University of Padua, our favorite class that year was art history with Professore Zuliani. He'd say- “We'll meet at the train station at 9 o'clock! Va bene? Don't be late!” All of our classes were conducted on-site— whether dodging pigeons in the Piazza San Marco, in the coolness and shimmering light of the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Ravenna, or in the quite rational serenity of Palladio's Villa Rotunda. Shona was always leading the pack, and we, were always following the swish of that carefree ponytail. These were among the many sacred spaces she loved. Shona just couldn't get enough of Italy.

Though we lived much of the past 30 years in different states, I always looked forward to seeing Shona when she would return home for a visit.  We would often go hiking, or enjoy a leisurely meal outdoors  in the beautiful garden at Celia and Jim's— always surrounded by her friends and family. There was an earthiness about Shona. She loved to garden. She loved to cook, and she loved good food. She was at home outdoors.

Shona's untimely passing is an admonition to each one of us to seize the day. As we say goodbye to our lovely Shona, let us celebrate how she lived her life: with gusto, warmth, integrity, and generosity.  She was an intrepid traveler and citizen of the world; she made friends whereever she roamed. Shona was an incandescent light among us, and I know that her warmth and radiance will continue to shine and live within each one of us. Close your eyes now and enjoy the echo of her laughter. There was never a way to trap that irrepressible effervescent energy that imbued Shona’s spirt. So let us toast her!  
Alla vita! Salute! Cheers to our ramblin’ gal!

To Celia, Jim, Maggi, Randy, Shane,  and  Alina, my heart goes out to you. The tremendous outpouring of condolences from so many friends and colleagues is a testament to Shona's legacy — a legacy of love. She touched so many people and will be remembered  always with such fondness.

In lasting friendship and deepest sympathy,

Jane Emley,
Point Richmond, California

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