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Shirley Berlin Gilbert


1922 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Shirley Berlin Gilbert Obituary
Berlin Gilbert, Shirley
Mar22, 1922 - Jan 4, 2019
Shirley Berlin Gilbert begins her next adventure today. Born in New York City of immigrant parents, Shirley lived thru the Great Depression watching and taking part with her family in helping fellow immigrants make a new life in our great country. When Shirley completed her education she became the financial controller for her Fathers fur manufacturing company until she met the first love of her life, Manny. Immediately after the war ended and Manny was discharged they married and had a Son, Jeffrey. During the period of time she and Manny lived in New York she began a new career as an art broker, representing her sister Mae throughout the city.
As she and Manny searched for expanded economic opportunity they made the decision to relocate, ultimately settling in Saginaw, Michigan where they lived until Manny's untimely death when Shirley was only 39. Shirley gave up her position of general manager for a large upscale Ladies department store to work with Manny at the new furniture store he had opened two years before his passing and she found herself forced to run it alone and support her young son. Shirley, who awakened every morning knowing she had a purpose, ran the business and expanded it to include other retail and rental businesses relating to furniture. In the early years it was unusual for a lady to be a successful business person and she was recognized for her achievements by the Altrusa Club.
As the years went by and Jeffrey was growing up Shirley was introduced to the second great love of her life, Phil Gilbert, a physician from Detroit. They married and although Shirley moved to Detroit she drove the 200 mile round trip to Saginaw to monitor her various financial enterprises, which by then had grown significantly. In addition to the furniture businesses, Shirley had owned and developed shopping centers, apartments and had entered banking.
The day came for Shirley and Phil to retire from active business involvement which they did, moving to Naples, Florida. Shirley immediately became totally immersed in the local chapter of Hadassah and during the many terms she served as their president she was responsible for the membership doubling, which was something that made her very proud. Shirley and Phil traveled extensively throughout the world, until Phil's passing. Shirley, knowing that every day must have a purpose, became involved in the Reading Partner program for the Education Association, and built an army of volunteers who adopted a school, working with the students and contributing to improvements and supplies badly needed.
Following the effects of Hurricane Charley and Wilma, Shirley decided to move to Sarasota to be closer to family. Her next stop was to move to The Genridge, not knowing anyone but that didn't last long. Shirley became involved with the Traveling Club, helped start the Dine Around Club and most importantly, founded the Ninety's Club, composed exclusively of residents who have reached the age of 90, as she had, and want to remain active and involved. Shirley was very proud the day the membership in the Ninety's Club surpassed 100. Every day of her life she got up knowing she had to have a purpose and hoped she shared that belief with her family. Shirley is survived by her Son Jeffrey and his Wife, Janice who was always a daughter to her. Two Grandsons, Evan and Stephen and 6 Great Grandchildren, Cameron, Avery, Jay, Kasey, Benjamin, and Hannah.
Shirley never feared her next adventure. In fact, she was certain she would be with her Parents, Clara and Phillip, her Sisters and Brother who had predeceased her, and of course Manny and Phil. The family wishes that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to All Faiths Food Bank.
Published in Herald Tribune from Jan. 7 to Jan. 10, 2019
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