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Shirlee S. Chadwell Elftman


1926 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Shirlee S. Chadwell Elftman Obituary
February 25, 1926 - March 16, 2017 Shirlee Summeril Chadwell Elftman passed away peacefully on March 16 at the age of 91. Shirlee was born February 25, 1926 to champion swimmer Marie Curtis and Olympic diving coach Ralph Summeril. Raised in Los Angeles with her younger brother Ralph (Bud) Summeril, Shirlee was an honor student at her grandfather's Carl Curtis School before attending Marlborough and then University High School, graduating at 16. After enrolling at UCLA as a pre-med for two years, Shirlee left college to enjoy a career at Bullocks Wilshire, where she flourished as a salesperson and a buyer. That special time produced many important friendships for Shirlee, including her introduction to a colleague's Navy buddy, Ernest T. Chadwell, Jr. Chad was a quiet and handsome southern gentleman who was 11 years her senior, and they quickly became an item. Shirlee and Chad were married in November 1951, settling first in the San Fernando Valley and finally moving to San Marino, where they raised their three beloved daughters, Sue, Liz and Cathi. Shirlee adored being a full-time mom and active volunteer and leader in every group she joined: Sunday School teacher, Carver PTA President, PTA Council President, NCL of San Marino President, Assistance League, American Cancer Society and many other worthy causes. When Chad's health declined, she shifted her talents to assist with his insurance agency, eventually earning her broker's license. After Chad's death in 1984, she took over the agency and ran it until she retired in 1992. In 1995, she married Bill Elftman, whose late wife, Elizabeth, had lovingly named Shirlee as someone Bill should befriend after her passing. She clearly knew what she was talking about: Shirlee and Bill enjoyed 12 wonderful, family-filled years together until his own passing in 2007. Shirlee was known for her warmth and thoughtfulness, her great sense of style and for her kindness to people in all walks of life - every waiter, nurse or salesperson she ever encountered came away feeling special. Shirlee always said her biggest achievement was having daughters who were also her best friends. A true matriarch, Shirlee was her family's biggest champion, wanting to share their stories with everyone she met. And her favorite role was as Nana to her seven beloved grandchildren: Chad, Liz (Duncan), Patrick (Alison), Chris, Maggie, Ben and Will; in addition, she was joyfully awaiting the arrival of her first great-grandbaby in April of this year. Shirlee is survived by her daughters and their husbands: Sue (Seth) Walworth, Liz (Peter) Buoye, Cathi Chadwell (James Dalgarn); her devoted "foster daughter" Sue Mutter; stepson Bob (Sue) Elftman and the extended Elftman family; nephews Steve and Mark Summeril and niece Robin Summeril; and countless others she held so dear. The family would like to thank the staff of Regency Fair Oaks for their kind support over the last two years, as well as the very special ladies from St. John Companion Care (Lyn, Mae, Letty and Nerissa), who so tenderly cared for Shirlee in her last months. We are comforted knowing that Shirlee is finally at peace, enjoying a good laugh and a glass of Pinot Grigio with so many special friends and loved ones who passed before her. The family held a private graveside burial. In lieu of flowers, donations in Shirlee's memory can be made to Huntington Hospital, Office of Philanthropy, 100 W. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Mar. 23 to Mar. 26, 2017
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