Shirley Carelli Greif
Shirley Carelli Greif passed away peacefully with her family at her side on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at her home in Rancho Mirage. Shirley was a devoted and loving wife to Earl Greif with whom she had just celebrated 60 years of marriage. In addition to her husband Earl, Shirley leaves behind son Randy Greif, daughter-in-law Valerie Greif, and grandsons Gabriel and Nicholas Greif. She was predeceased by her son Danny Greif and her brother, Leo Carelli. Shirley was born in 1928 in Los Angeles, Calif. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in education and taught school in the Los Angeles area for eight years before leaving to start her family. Shirley continued on as a substitute teacher working with special needs children. Shirley was the quintessential "woman-behind-the-man" as she helped her husband, Earl build a real estate empire in Los Angeles (including the rebuilding of a 189 unit apartment complex that was destroyed in the Northridge earthquake), Orange County, San Diego and South Carolina. Shirley was active with many charities in both the Los Angeles and the Palm Springs desert area including City of Hope, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Museum of Tolerance, Jewish Federation, American Friends of Hebrew University, Anti Defamation League, Temple Sinai of Palm Desert, Jewish National Fund, and Hadassah, to name a few. Shirley and Earl moved to Ranch Mirage permanently in 1994 where her life-long love of art and education prompted her to become a docent at the Palm Springs Art Museum. She was also a poet of note as well as an artist. An example of her poetry, "The Promise", can be seen at the Holocaust Memorial in Palm Desert Civic Center Park which her husband, Earl and another Holocaust Survivor, Joe Brandt, co-founded. Shirley and Earl are the founders of the Tolerance Education Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where both children and adults can visit to learn compassion and understanding from lessons of the past such as the Holocaust. Shirley was admired and respected by everyone she met. She was grace and dignity personified and her loveliness was only surpassed by her inner beauty. Funeral services will be held on Sunday, April 21, 2013, 3:00 p.m., at Forest Lawn, Cathedral City, 68955 E. Ramon Road, Cathedral City, CA 92234. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Tolerance Education Center in Shirley's memory.
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Published in The Desert Sun from Apr. 17 to Apr. 20, 2013