Shirley (Grindle) Zimin was born in Egegik, Alaska and moved to South Naknek, Alaska in 1962, when her father started working for the Alaska Packers Association (APA) cannery as a machinist. Her mother is a descendent of the Katmai people who moved when the Novarupta volcano destroyed their Savonoski village in 1912, and settled in South Naknek. Shirley worked for APA on the fall/spring crew cleaning the buildings and doing the laundry, and worked in the cannery's mess hall and laundry during fishing season. After seventeen years at the cannery, Shirley left and opened her own hairdressing business. She has been married to Carvel Zimin, Jr., the son of her father's best friend, for forty years, and they have raised their children and grandchildren immersed in the fishing and cannery culture of the Bristol Bay region.