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Florence Shanley

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Florence Louise Shanley

aka Santa's Helper

Shrewsbury - Florence Louise (Crespi) Shanley, 98, of Shrewsbury, MA (formerly of Northborough and Framingham, MA) was reunited with her beloved husband on Friday, April 12, 2019.

She was the loving and devoted wife of the late Lieutenant Colonel Irving Thomas Shanley, who died in 2012. The couple was married in Saint Leo the Great Church in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1948 and were married for 64 years. Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, she was a daughter of the late Joseph Crespi and the late Elvina (Gemelli) Crespi.

She will be greatly missed by one son, Thomas Victor Shanley and his wife, Marianne, of Uxbridge, Joan Frances Shanley of Grafton, Mary Christine Dragon and her husband, Jeffrey of Northborough, Patricia Louise Dreifus and her husband, Peter, and Pamela Marie Shanley all of Shrewsbury. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Samantha Marion Dreifus, Mikaela Mary Shanley, Matthew Shanley Dragon and Macoy Thomas Shanley. Also surviving is her only sibling and sister, Joan Carty and her husband, Bernard, of Milford and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Flo graduated from Pawtucket High School in Rhode Island in 1939 and from the Hubbard Business School in Pawtucket. She and her family traveled extensively throughout the eastern United States, Japan and Europe while her husband served with the United States Army. The family resided in Framingham, Massachusetts for more than 24 years after her husband retired from the Army in 1969. While in Framingham, she was a member of Saint Anselm Church in Sudbury, Massachusetts, where she served as a Greeter for many years, in addition to serving on several church committees. After moving to Northborough, she was a member of Saint Rose of Lima church.

Flo is well-known as Santa's Helper to many residents of Framingham and surrounding communities. A number of articles have been written about her in past years. During the Christmas season, for more than 40 years, she would pick up letters at the Framingham Post Office written to Santa Claus and respond to each one with great love and tenderness. She also organized a small group of volunteers and family members who provided food, gifts and financial assistance to needy families in the area for many years.

Flo was a devoted mother, always putting her family first. She was happiest when she could bring a smile to another's face or ease a burden. She aged courageously and faced the usual challenges of ageing with a sense of humor and grace.

Flo's family would like to express their sincere gratitude to Sue Callahan, Bill Zangarine, and the compassionate staff at Southgate in Shrewsbury for the loving care and laughter provided over the past 6 years. Deep gratitude is also expressed to the hospice staff of Notre Dame du Lac in Worcester and especially to Athena, Tatiana and Colleen. The family is also grateful for the dedicated care provided to Flo over the past decades by Dr. Richard Orino in Shrewsbury.

Visiting Hours will be on Monday, April 15, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. in MERCADANTE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 370 Plantation Street, Worcester.

Her Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday, April 16, from the funeral home, departing at 9:30 a.m. in procession for a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at Saint Rose of Lima Church, 244 West Main Street, Northborough, Massachusetts. Burial will be next to her beloved husband in Saint John Cemetery in Worcester, Massachusetts.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Metrowest Humane Society at 30 Pond Street, Ashland, MA 01721. Please also consider performing a random act of kindness to someone you meet today. The world can always use another smile.

There is an online register for messages and condolences, it can be found at

Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Apr. 13 to Apr. 14, 2019
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