Emily Grace Shalit
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Emily Grace Shalit of Stockbridge passed away in peace on November 28, 2012 at the Great Barrington Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. After decades of living with multiple sclerosis, the immediate cause of her passing was ovarian cancer, against which she fought heroically for three years
Emily Shalit, born August 22, 1957, became a writer, poet, pianist, animal rescuer (she rarely had fewer than three cats living with her), and a friend to many. Along the way she worked the front desk at the Red Lion Inn; became a Kripalu resident in its early years; enthusiastically filled multiple positions with the Berkshire Public Theater in Pittsfield where the Barrington Stage Company is now located. She first arrived in the Berkshires to serve as a Guide and backstage aide with the BSO at Tanglewood. In recent years she helped form a Berkshire support group of Multiple Sclerosis sufferers to serve as a rallying point to exchange views, provide advice, buttress each other's confidence, and in every way combat the MS scourge.
Emily received her early education at the Anna C. Scott School and the Dwight School for Girls, both in northern New Jersey, and then on to college at Indiana University in Bloomington. Among her very happiest years were her family's summers on Martha's Vineyard, where, as a child, she made friendships that flourished throughout her life.
Among Emily's mourners are her loving husband John Gelpi; her sisters Willa and Amanda; her brothers Peter, Nevin, and Andrew; her father, Gene; and an array of nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, uncles, and aunts.
Her mother, Nancy Lewis Shalit, died of cancer in August, 1978.
Emily was blessed by an extensive circle of friends who continually provided devoted active support during her last years.
Contributions in Emily's memory may be sent to the Berkshire Humane Society, 214 Barker Road, Pittsfield MA 01201. A memorial service celebrating her life will wait for spring, as she wished.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Dec. 7, 2012