MONTAGUE CENTER - Shirley M. (Upright) Rau, 78, of 25 Bernardo Drive, died Sunday evening, March 23, 2014, at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA, following a period of declining health.
A native of Colrain, MA, she was born on June 16, 1935 to Jesse and Rose (LaChapelle) Upright. Shirley was educated in Colrain Public Schools and graduated from the former Deerfield High School.
Following her graduation from high school, she worked for a period of time for the Greenfield Recorder.
She was married on Aug. 24, 1953 to Ralph D. Rau, Sr., in Greenfield, MA.
Shirley worked for several years as a bookkeeper for the former Stan – Dan Steel Co. in Northampton, MA. She later waitressed at the former Athens Restaurant for several years in Turners Falls, MA.
She established with her husband, ""Rau's Sunoco Service Station"" in Montague Center, MA, on Oct. 1, 1965. They operated the service station for 37 years with the assistance of their son, Ralph, and retired (unofficially) in 2002, turning the day-to-day operation over to their son. Shirley and her husband continued to be a presence at the family-held service station until his untimely passing in July of 2004, with Shirley remaining as a fixture at the business until her recent illness.
Shirley enjoyed Country Western Music and was a fan of Vince Gill, as well as The Chieftains. An avid ten pin bowler, she was once a member of several bowling teams throughout the Pioneer Valley and enjoyed playing in many tournaments. She enjoyed games of chance at the casinos, followed horse racing at the former Hinsdale Harness Track and was an avid bingo player.
She enjoyed flower gardening, hosting annual holiday dinners at her home, baking her delicious raisin and mincemeat filled cookies and homemade donuts. She also made and sold decorative Christmas wreaths which adorned many homes throughout Montague Center and Franklin County for years. She enjoyed annual trips to the Franklin County Fair, where she attended the horse draws, the demolition derby, Fireman's Muster and going through the ""Round House"".
She frequented local church fairs and holiday bazaars and to her delight, she was often a lucky winner in the silent auctions.
Shirley was a former past president of the PTA in Montague Center and was a member of the First Congregational Church, where she served on the Ladies Benevolent Society which hosted the annual Christmas ""Fete Noel"" and was an active participant in the communities annual ""Old Home Days"" event for many years.
She is lovingly remembered by her children: Bercia Zaniewski and her husband Hank of Sunderland, MA; Carla Blood and her husband Rick of Lake Elmore, VT, and Ralph D. Rau and his wife Debi of Turners Falls, MA. Additionally, she leaves her adoring grandchildren: Jessica Erling and her husband Brian of Arvada, CO, Sarah Zaniewski–Jones and her husband Rudy of Portland, OR, Michael Zaniewski of Wesley Chapel, FL; David Blood of Craftsbury, VT, and Hannah Blood of Lake Elmore, VT, as well as her great-grandchildren, Lillian, Violet and Wesley Erling of Arvada, CO. Shirley also leaves her sister, Marian Emerson of Haydenville, MA, as well as several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Shirley will be also missed by her loving canine friend ""Romeo Rau"".
She was predeceased by her husband Ralph in 2004, as well as by her parents and her brother, Raymond Upright.
Funeral services will be observed on Saturday, March 29, 2014, from the McCarthy Funeral Homes, 14 Prospect St., Turners Falls, MA, at 10:30 a.m. with family friend, the Rev. Larry Riddle, pastor of the Moores Corner Church, North Leverett, MA, to officiate. Committal services will follow in the Elm Grove Cemetery, Montague Center, MA. A reception will follow the services at the cemetery in the fellowship hall of the First Congregational Church, Montague Center, MA.
Visiting hours will be conducted on Friday, March 28, 2014, from the McCarthy Funeral Homes, 14 Prospect St., Turners Falls, MA, from 6 to 8 p.m. and again on Saturday morning prior to the funeral services from 9:30 until the time of the service.
Expressions of affection in the form of charitable contributions are suggested in lieu of flowers in Shirley's memory to either Poet's Seat Health Care Center, c/o the Resident's Activity Fund, 359 High St., Greenfield, MA 01301 or to the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, P.O. Box 319, South Deerfield, MA 01373-0319.
The McCarthy Funeral Homes of Greenfield and Turners Falls, MA, have been entrusted with the arrangements. For further information, directions, to sign a guest book or direct a condolence message to the Rau family, please visit: www.mccarthyfuneralhomes.com