Shirley Jean Bonazzoli passed away on Tuesday June 18th at the age of 85. True to her character, she lived courageously for the last few years of her life after going fully blind. Shirley was born on March 31st 1928 in Clinton Massachusetts to Harry and Marion (Somerville) Whitcomb. Her youth was spent happily with her parents and sisters Barbara and Muriel in Clinton, where she also graduated from high school. Shirley worked as a secretary in Worcester Massachusetts into her early twenties. In 1951, Shirley married the love of her life Pierino Aldo (affectionately known as Gigi) Bonazzoli, and moved to his hometown of Bolton Massachusetts where they stayed happily together to raise a family and live lives of honor and charity for 62 years. Throughout her life, Shirley was an ongoing pillar of service to her town, her church (First Parish of Bolton), and her family. She started the Girl Scouts in Bolton with Mrs. Lorraine Fuller. Shirley was an active member of the Womens American Legion Auxiliary and the Bolton Fire Departments Womens Auxiliary, known as the kittens. She worked for the town of Bolton census committee and for voters registration. Joyfully and unflaggingly from 1951, Shirley dedicated herself to her church in so many capacities. She was President of the Ladies Evening Guild, helped run the church bazaars and various other fundraising events, sang in the choir with the natural beauty of a song bird, and aided committees and parishioners in whatever their needs were. Shirley was a devoted wife who supported her husband Gigi in his life of tremendous charitable endeavors in Bolton as Selectman, firefighter and EMT/Bolton ambulance director. Shirley was universally loved and befriended wherever her life took her--all the way through the last days of her life--for her optimism, joy, and acceptance of everyone. She had an intimate circle of phenomenal and supportive girlfriends like herself who met Tuesday nights, referred to as the JFF club (Just for fun!)--some members of which she had known since childhood. Shirley took pleasure in working out while socializing with the ladies at Curves in Bolton and Stow, as well as shopping and having lunch with her so many best friends. She enjoyed traditional American crafts of various kinds, including knitting and hooking rugs, which always ended up as gifts or charity to others. Birdwatching, being with family at the Lake for the water and sun, and prayer were her ways of finding happiness and deep peace. Shirley will be lovingly missed by countless people. She is survived by her beloved husband Gigi; her two sons Robert and Peter Bonazzoli and their wives Louise and Linda respectively; her daughter Robin Bonazzoli and partner Chet Urban; her sister Muriel Senter; her two nieces Jill Senter and Dorothy Utz (and husband Roger Utz); her nephew Bruce Senter; and the five Bonazzoli grandchildren: Brad, Janelle, Nicole, Kyle, and Tyler. Shirley was predeceased by her sister Barbara Anderson. In accordance with Shirleys wishes, there will be no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Parish of Bolton. Interment will be private, for family members and dearest friends, at South Bolton Cemetery. In honor of Shirleys memory, there will be a public memorial service held at the chapel of First Parish of Bolton on Saturday June 29th at 4pm, followed by a celebratory gathering with light refreshments at the adjoining Davis Hall.
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Published in The Harvard Post from June 21 to June 28, 2013