Shirley Jane Gilman Sheridan
Shirley Jane Gilman Sheridan
  • December 9, 1922 - December 24, 2010
  • Gilman, Connecticut

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GILMAN - Shirley Gilman Sheridan died in Hartford Hospital on December 24, 2010, after a long illness.

Shirley Jane Agins was born to Jacob George and Ida Marshall Agins on December 9, 1922, in Mount Vernon, New York. Her father was a jewelry designer and her mother a homemaker. She was graduated from New York University, where she was chosen to screen new films for the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. While studying for a Masters at Columbia University, she participated in the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, along with their distinguished guest, Robert Frost. As a young writer beginning her career, she won several short-story prizes. Her short fiction was published in the Woman's Home Companion, and her screenplays for television were produced. One of her projects came up for discussion with Twentieth Century Fox.

On November 28, 1948, she married Martin John Gilman of Gilman, CT, an inventor and manufacturer of football practice equipment to train players and protect them from injury. Throughout her life, she worked at Marty Gilman, Inc., creating and heading her own division, Magi Potholders, the nation's leading manufacturer of promotional potholders. She is credited with the idea of using potholders for political advertising and her product has been used in many campaigns. She and her sons Neil and Geoffrey carried on the business after Martin Gilman's death in 1979. She also served as Postmaster of Gilman from 1978 to 1986.

In 1986, she married Martin Sheridan, a noted writer and photo-journalist, who had served with distinction in the Pacific Theater of World War II as one of the first embedded correspondents. With him, she traveled the world, visiting every continent except Antarctica. He died in 2003.

Her twin brother, Dr. Morton Milton Agins, and her elder brother and sister-in-law, William Seymour and Florence Hackman Agins, predeceased her.

She is survived by her daughter, Greer Ilene Gilman of Cambridge, MA, a writer; by her sons, Glenn Marshall Gilman of Middletown, CT, Geoffrey Martin Gilman of Mystic, CT, and Neil Frederic Gilman of Glastonbury, CT; by her sister-in-law, Dr. Miriam Fladen Agins of Akron, OH; by her many nephews and nieces; by her step-daughters, Margaret Ann Sheridan Schmidt of Northbrook, IL and Jean Randall Sheridan of Evanston, IL, and by two step-grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Private funeral arrangements were by Church and Allen. A memorial service will be held at a date to be announced. Please visit to sign the guest book, leave a condolence and be updated on the memorial service date, time and location.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Shirley Gilman Sheridan's memory to the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center of Hartford Hospital, 80 Seymour St., Hartford, CT 06102, or to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445