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Shirley Shapiro


1914 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Shirley Shapiro Obituary
Shapiro, Shirley 09/29/1914 ~ 08/18/2014 SAN DIEGO -- Shirley Shapiro, known to many in her family as "Saralee,"* passed away August 18, 2014 at White Sands in La Jolla, days after suffering a stroke and just weeks before her 100th birthday. In her last days, she was visited almost around-the-clock by family and friends. Shirley was born in the Bronx in New York City, the youngest of three children and the first of her family to be born in the United States. Her family had fled Poland in the years before her birth. Shirley's family moved to the Canarsie section of Brooklyn in the early 1920s. In 1941, she married Abraham Shapiro, also from Brooklyn. Their telegram announcing they had eloped said: "Now we is one."* Shirley and Abe lived all over the country as Abe served in the U.S. Army near the end of World War II. They lived in Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and other places. They settled in New York following Abe's separation from the military. For decades, they lived in Amityville on Long Island, with a backyard that ended at a dock on the Great South Bay, where they kept a motorboat. During those years, Shirley worked at the headquarters of Harman-Kardon, the hi-fi company. In the 1970s, Shirley and Abe retired and moved to Southern California - first to El Toro and then shortly thereafter to San Diego. They lived in San Carlos, near Cowles Mountain, where Abe hiked every day. Shirley and Abe remained married for just over 50 years until Abe's death in 1991. Shirley stayed in San Carlos, living on her own until June 2014, when at the age of 99 she moved to the White Sands retirement home in La Jolla. Although Shirley was a resident at White Sands for just six weeks, she quickly made several friends and cherished her time there, enjoying a big scoop of chocolate ice cream with every meal and watching surfers off of Marine Street Beach. Shirley never had children, but had a large group of family members and friends who were drawn to her sparkling personality, her kindness and devotion to others, her openness to new things and younger people, her intelligence, and her skill as a cook. She was an expert Scrabble player who thought of seven-letter words just for fun. Scrabble brought out her competitive side, and even at age 99, Shirley regularly defeated friends and family members almost half her age. Great-grand nieces in their teens and 20s loved to spend time with Shirley because she was always interested in talking with them on their level about their experiences and interests, and was such an engaging storyteller. She had many devoted friends who would constantly look in on her in her later years, stopping by to bring food, play Scrabble, watch Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune, and discuss politics and the news. In her last days, Shirley was attended to by her grand-nephews Fred Plevin of San Diego and his wife Laura Schoenberg and their daughter Jona Plevin, Richard Plevin of Berkeley, and Mark Plevin of San Francisco and his daughter Rebecca Plevin of Los Angeles. Shirley's friends in San Carlos, La Jolla and Del Mar, and her extended family in Westlake Village, Paso Robles, Ohio, New Jersey, Australia and South Africa, with whom she kept in close touch, remember her fondly as a remarkable and vibrant person who enriched the lives of those she touched. A private gathering to remember Shirley and celebrate her life will be held in late September.
Published in U-T San Diego on Aug. 23, 2014
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