UPDATE: Details on the Life of Shirley Day, 1939-2012

Shirley Day was the owner of the Crab Cracker restaurant in downtown Kirkland and was one of the founders of the Kirkland Performance Center.


Editor's Note: Wendy Kelly sent us the following information about her mother Shirley Day, longtime operator of the Crab Cracker restaurant in Kirkland, who died Tuesday, and we pass it along in full.



Shirley Eileen Mattson was born in Tacoma, WA on 9/15/1939.  She was the oldest child of Norwegian immigrants Matt (Vassbotten) and Emma (Bratten) Mattson. 

Shirley attended school in Tacoma, graduating from Stadium High School in 1958.  Prior to graduation, Shirley worked as an interpreter on the movie set of “The Vikings”, which was filmed in Norway and France. 

While attending Pacific Lutheran College, Shirley studied Economics and Norwegian Cultural studies.

In 1960, Shirley married Brian Jones.  They had four children and lived in California, Gig Harbor, and Bainbridge Island.  Together they owned and operated restaurants in Port Townsend and on Bainbridge Island.  She was a board member of Bainbridge Island Arts and Crafts and the Lenore Ostrander Guild.  With several of her dear Bainbridge friends, Shirley was a member of the Junior League of Seattle.  Shirley was also a former board member of PONCHO.

Following their divorce, Shirley continued her studies - earning a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration through Washington State University’s satellite program offered in Seattle.

Shirley’s family moved to the Juanita area in 1978.  While working as a professional recruiter in the hospitality industry, Shirley interviewed Robin Day. The interview went well- In January of 1981, Robin and Shirley were married in Kirkland, WA. 

Following her position as a recruiter, Shirley became the National Personnel Manager for Godfather’s Pizza.   This job came with extensive travel and piles of free pizza for her kids.

Upon leaving Godfather’s Pizza, Shirley began Shirley Day Hospitality Recruiting, which represented national and international restaurant chains.  During this time, she was an officer of the National Women In Restaurants Association.

Beginning in 1982, Robin and Shirley purchased and ran four restaurants:  The Hidden Harbor and Rattler’s Grill (Seattle), Cowboy Steakhouse (Kirkland), and her personal and professional favorite-The Crab Cracker, (Kirkland). 

From 1984 until her last days, Shirley treasured her personal friendships with customers, employees, and vendors of the Crab Cracker.  Sharp as a tack and ferociously feisty, she was a force to be reckoned with.

Shirley was passionate about living and working in Kirkland. She was a member of the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce Executive Board and served as an original member, and former president, of the Kirkland Performance Center.

In 2011, Shirley was honored as Kirkland’s Citizen of the Year.

When she wasn’t working, Shirley enjoyed travelling with Robin.  From tropical sailing trips, African safaris, and visiting family in Norway, she loved every corner of the world. 

Together they enjoyed good friends, good food, and fine wines.  They were always the first couple on the dance floor, making every step look easy.  She loved gardening and sewing and was a voracious reader.

Shirley’s absence will be mourned by Robin Day, her loving husband of nearly 32 years. 

To her kids, she was simply ‘Mom’.  She encouraged us to work hard, read books, and dress nicely to visit our grandparents.   Mom will be missed by Julie and Cameron Clark (Sonja, Annika) Greg and Tammie Jones (Jessie, Sarah) Todd and Lynn Jones (Jacob, Josh) Wendy and Pete Kelly (Emma, Madison) and Karsten and Christie Day-White (Kayla, Carina). 

Kenny Mattson and Dennis Mattson will miss their big sister.

Shirley bravely fought breast cancer and passed peacefully on December 18, 2012 at the Evergreen Hospice Center in Kirkland.

Takk for alt, Mor.  Vi elsker deg. (Thanks for all Mom. We love you).


Original story:

Shirley Day, the longtime operator of the popular downtown Kirkland restaurant the Crab Cracker, died Tuesday at Evergreen Hospice Center.

She had been suffering from cancer. Her son Todd Jones and daughter Wendy Kelly and other family were by her side.

Day had long been active civically and was a longtime member of the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, which honored her in late 2010 with its Member of the Year Award. She served for three years on the chamber's board of directors.

She was also one of the founders and a former president of the Kirkland Performance Center. She had also owned and operated Cowboy's Steakhouse in the Totem Lake area.

The family is planning services for some time in January. Kirkland Patch will update this story as details become available.


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