Shirley Ann Juergensen Grissom passed away peacefully on June 19, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas, with her family by her side. She was preceded in death by Tom F. Grissom, her beloved husband of thirty-five years, who died on April 29, 1992, and also by her parents, Emil Henry Juergensen and Linna Gray Juergensen, and her brother, Charles Juergensen. She leaves behind her three loving sons and family: Jack; Tom Paul and wife, Julie; Patrick and fiancée, Allison Otto; two grandchildren, Baron and Mariley Grissom; and one grandchild of her heart, Sarah West.
Funeral services will be held privately for the family on Friday, June 26, when she will be laid to rest next to her husband. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Shirley’s memory be made to The Saving Hope Foundation for pet rescue: www.saving-hope.org (214) 914-7368.
Shirley was born on May 22, 1931, in Cross Plains, Texas, where she spent her childhood and graduated from Kermit High School. She attended Texas Tech University, Sul Ross University, and finished her college career at Texas Christian University where she met her soulmate, Tom Grissom. Tom introduced Shirley to the world of art, pottery, and sculpture, where they blossomed together and began their life-long careers as artists. Their first business venture was opening Aspen Studio in Fort Worth, where they designed and handcrafted their exclusive collection of pottery, bronze sculptures, windchimes, and bells, as well as many commissioned pieces. They took pride in providing schools around the Southwest with their artisanal blend of pottery clay.
Shirley and Tom shared a passion for creating unique and beautiful art as well as bringing the artist community together. In 1967, they opened “Grissom and Friends Artist Compound,” which featured local Fort Worth artists including Pam Summers Pottery, Mike McNamara Pottery, Johnsons Baskets & Woodcraft, Julia Swift Jade & Ivory, the Hip Pocket Theatre with Johnny and Diane Simons, and the Stage Door Restaurant. “The Compound,” open seven days a week, was where many gathered for Hip Pocket Theatre productions, live music, and classes taught by the best local artists.
Community and art were a prominent focus in Tom and Shirley’s life. Shirley was a Board Member of the Fort Worth Opera, an art teacher for the local school district, and she taught jewelry design at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. The renowned Fort Worth artist Nancy Lamb fondly remembers taking Shirley’s classes at the museum, with Shirley becoming her mentor and lifelong friend.
The “Grissom Compound” changed and evolved over the years and is still thriving today as the well-known and beloved Grissom’s Fine Jewelry Store. Shirley and her sons have been carrying on the family tradition of providing quality jewelry designs to the community for the past three decades—Shirley at the front desk meeting and greeting every single customer with a smile and her wonderful laugh.
Shirley was an inspiration to everyone who knew her and leaves behind great legacies: the importance of kindness, generosity, loyalty to the community and arts, and dedication to friends and family. She will be greatly missed, but we find peace in knowing she is finally reunited with her best friend and soulmate, her husband Tom.