Shirley Lavorato
1937 - 2020
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Shirley Lavorato
December 10, 1937 - April 24, 2020
Shirley Lavorato went to the Lord, Jesus Christ on April 24, 2020. She was born to John and Mary Soares on December 10, 1937 and was raised on a dairy farm in South Monterey County between King City and Soledad. She had ten brothers and sisters. From the day she was born until the day that she passed, Shirley was exceedingly special. She was given extraordinary talents by God—and she multiplied and utilized those talents throughout her entire life for the benefit of not just her family, but countless people in schools, hospitals, and religious institutions throughout the Monterey County community. Shirley was a selfless and generous advocate for those that needed support, aid and community—always presenting a positive perspective to overcome life's most serious challenges. In the early days of her family life, some may have defined her as a wonderful homemaker, but she became known by many as a passionate worker for humankind. The list of humanities, volunteer services, boards of directors, and philanthropic endeavors are simply too long to list here. She was recognized both globally and locally, receiving the Benemeriente Medal from Pope Benedict XVI, the Honoree Award from the American Cancer Society, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alliance on Aging, the Partner Award from the Christian Brothers Foundation, the Philanthropy Award from Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, and the National Philanthropy Award.
Despite all of her spectacular achievements for her selfless service in the community, her finest achievement was her family. In her own words found on her computer she stated: "Finest achievements: My three sons. Sam, Jr., a Monterey County Superior Court Judge; John, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for The Filtration Group Austin, TX. and Chris, Partner in the law firm of Howry, Breen, Herman in Austin, TX. Married to my wonderful husband Sam Lavorato, Sr. for 59 years. Three lovely daughters-in law, Tina, Waleska, and Tricia. Six precious grandchildren, Michael, Alexandra, Samuel, Louis, Matthew and Max."
Shirley greatly loved her parents and siblings. She lost her father, John Soares, at an early age. Her sons Sam, John and Chris never knew Grandpa John, but she always presented her father to them as a person of strength, honesty, and courage. Shirley loved her mother Mary ("Grammy") dearly. She intensely loved her siblings. All six of her brothers served in the United States armed services. Some of her brothers fought to protect this country in World War II and the Korean War under harsh circumstances. Shirley was immensely proud of all of them for their contribution to this country. Shirley believed that when she left this world, she would be reunited with her siblings and parents once again. That reunion has now happened!
Shirley relished life. She was extremely accomplished in the political community, but most importantly, she was accomplished spiritually, and a devout member of St. Joseph's parish in Spreckels CA. As a recipient of the Benemeriente Medal for "Good Works," she was recognized for her essential effort, support and service given to a clergy member or a lay person. She achieved that special honor after spearheading the project of building The Blessed Edmund Rice Chapel (the size of a church) at Palma School.
Shirley was direct, honest, kind, sincere, funny and generous. Simply stated, she was a shining example of how to live life well. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and daughter. She was a community leader and civil servant, whose tireless efforts made our communities a better place to live. To her family, she was a spiritual rock, wholly loyal—a person who provided unconditional love to her husband, children and grand-children at all times.
Shortly before she passed, Shirley was able to visit with her husband, children and grandchildren in a special farewell. Recently Shirley was pre-deceased by her grandson—Matthew Lavorato. Moments before she died, she exclaimed that she was so looking forward to "go see Matthew," and to "hug him," and that he would lead her into the gates of heaven. That has also happened!
Thank you Shirley for making life better for all of us. Thank you for believing in humanity, community, and love. Thank you for your example of how to live the best life. Thank you for unconditionally loving your family and friends. Rest in peace, in communion with the Lord forever.
Shirley is survived by her husband of 59 years Sam; three children: Sam (Tina), John (Waleska) and Chris (Tricia); her siblings Henry, Clarabelle and Patricia, and grandchildren Michael, Alexandra, Samuel, Louie and Max.
The family asks, that in lieu of flowers and arrangements, that friends and family contribute to the following charitable efforts: "Austin Community Foundation" (Note in the memo line "Matthew C. Lavorato Endowment Fund"), Palma School, The American Cancer Society Relay For Life (Salinas), SVMH Foundation, or Salinas VNA & Hospice.
A Visitation will be held at the funeral home of Struve and Laporte, 41 W. San Luis St., Salinas, CA 93901, on Thursday, April 30, 2020 from 4PM to 7PM. (Given the current circumstances, social distancing will be required, thus, only 10 people will be allowed to enter the viewing area at any given time).
A Private Mass at Palma's Chapel and entombment at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery will take place on Friday, May 1, 2020.
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Published in Monterey Herald Obits on Apr. 29, 2020.
04:00 - 07:00 PM
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Memories & Condolences
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24 entries
May 10, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. How wonderful to be blessed by such a selfless and giving soul. Her greatest gift was modeling those traits to her sons.
God Bless.
May 10, 2020
We used to see Shirley at St. Josephs daily Mass as well as with the family on Sunday. It is hard to describe her in words.. she was always so loving, and giving. She was beautifully dressed as if she had stepped from a fashion page. Yet she was approachable, and genuine , as well as generous with her time, and devoted to Sam.
We do not live in Salinas any more having moved to New Zealand. We do not forget her, and will continue to hold her up in prayer. RIP dear Shirley.
Susie Johnson and Sr. Denyse Martin SFCC
Kaikoura, New Zealand
May 6, 2020
Rest in heavenly peace.
Patty Glenny
May 3, 2020
Dear Lavorato Family, I did not personally know Shirley but saw her at times at my place of employment, SVMH, she carried herself with grace and dignity and I am so sorry for your loss. She was truly a remarkable woman, a true inspiration who touched many lives. Be proud of her! Your loss is shared by many. May God Bless you and give you strength.
Lydia & Alex Sapien
May 3, 2020
Dear Sam and family, our most sincere condolences for your loss. I was deeply saddened when I learned of Shirley's passing and immediately felt the grief and pain when losing a precious and loved one. We were very young when we first met and ready to take on the world. Fast forward and Shirley leaves a wonderful legacy. She is a shining star. May God embrace you and give you strength and courage to move forward. That your grief and broken hearts be soothed with our Lord's love and gentle hands. We pray for you and yours; for comfort and peace. God bless you. Sincerely, Evelyn Lopez, Robert and Richard Soratos, Alex Grimes, Rebecca Lauricella.
Evelyn Lopez
May 2, 2020
Sam, my prayers are with you and your family.
I know you were so proud of Shirley when you talked of her. Your family was everything. I am sorry I haven't seen you for quite a while since Maskey passed but I thought of you often. God Bless and Shirley sounded like a shining star and will be missed by many
Paula Heath
May 2, 2020
Sam and Family,
My wife and I were deeply saddened to learn of Shirley's passing. I am honored that I was presented the opportunity to meet Shirley. Her accomplishments abound, and her Family will continue promoting her many endeavors. May she rest in eternal peace.
Buster and Lynda Fitzpatrick
May 1, 2020
Sincere condolences to each of her cherished family & friends
Carol Rodoni Yates
May 1, 2020
My condolences to the Lavorato family especially Sam Jr. Our prayers for the family that they may find comfort in all the memories she has left you with.
Love in Christ,
Hope (Losoya) Cruz
Esperanza Cruz
May 1, 2020
Dear Lavorato Family,

I am so sorry to hear about Shirley's passing. I have so many fond memories of her during my childhood. She was a beautiful person inside and out. The world lost a wonderful person, but the heavens are rejoicing!
Ellen Beaumont Alfheim
April 30, 2020
Always in our Heart.
Lucia Ruiz
April 30, 2020
I had the pleasure to meet Shirley many years ago when my Son was attending Palma High. We were members with the Palma Parents Club as well as working as an Intern with her Husbands Law firm, I was able to know her and saw the beauty in this incredible woman. Shirley was a One Of a Kind! She will be missed so deeply by this community. My condolences to the family.

Lucia Ruiz.
April 30, 2020
My prayers and condolences to the family and friends of this extraordinary woman. I feel fortunate to have known her. Such a kind and wonderful person.
Susan Chapman
April 30, 2020
My sincere and condolences to the whole family. Shirley was a super woman with a heart of gold. I had the pleasure of working and talking sharing our family events with her for 20 years before I retired from the bank. Rest In Peace SHIRLEY. God Bless.
Connie Rondez
April 30, 2020
So sorry to hear of Shirley's passing. I considered / consider Sam and Shirley friends. I now live in Auburn, CA and last met Sam and Shirley at their neighbor and my friend Jim Bassett's memorial gathering in 2009.
Condolence to Sam and Shirley's entire family.
Bill Carpenter Sr.
April 30, 2020
My condolences to the Lavorado Family. God bless you all thru this.
Veronica Castro
April 29, 2020
Dearest Sam, Sam Jr., John and Chris, my heart breaks to hear this sad news. My love, prayers and sincere sympathy to you and your families. Shirley was a Living Doll and one of the sweetest people I know. Enjoyed many years of being room mothers together and serving on a few committees together. Shirley will surely be missed by many. God Bless you All. xox
Marilyn Cole
April 29, 2020
I had the pleasure of working with Shirley on the Blessed Edmund Rice Chapel at Palma High School during the construction process. She was an articulate professional but also a very caring, gracious lady.
Karen Ventura
April 29, 2020
A force of nature that will be missed by many. Rest in Peace.

Jeanie & John Spano
April 29, 2020
Dearest to our heart. Matt 7: 22-23 teaches that it does not matter if you only pray Lord, Lord, or even if you only prophesy or work miracles. For the Lord's own are those that bear good fruit. ("Therefore by their fruits shall you know them.) I never was privileged to meet Shirley in person. I did not need to meet her to know that she is eternally home in God's Love because I know Sam Sr. and their fruit in Sam Jr., John, and Chris and Max, and I knew Matthew. The power and beauty of Shirley shines eternal in the manifold priceless gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love she gave over a lifetime to her family and indeed to all she touched and those who touched her. Shirley was a disciple and follower of Jesus and let the Light of her Faith shine into countless lives of others even when life was seemingly dark and futile. We pray for the family that they might find comfort in a Peace of God which passes all human understanding and in the sure knowledge that Shirley showed all she encountered in life what it means to be a good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ. Matt 25:21. Glen & Sandy Wilkerson, Austin, Texas (4/29/2020)
Glen Wilkerson
April 28, 2020
I met her at a nail shop
April 28, 2020
April 28, 2020
A very gracious lady. A wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother. Fun times at palma. Always ready to accommodate every one. She will be missed. Gene and Marie Wiley
Gene and Marie Wiley
April 28, 2020
A very classy lady. Our condolences to Sam & the family RIP. Jimi & Cyndi Heintz
Jimi Heintz
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