Shirlee Duffy, two months shy of age 83, of New Castle, DE, passed away from complications of COPD, in the comfort of her home surrounded by her loving family on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.
Shirlee was the daughter of the late William and Rose Meshon. On a blind date in April of 1948, as a 17-year-old Jewish girl, she met Gene Duffy, a 22-year-old Irish Catholic boy who was a Lieutenant in the US Air Force. They fell in love instantly, but in 1948, that did not bode well with her parents. So, Shirlee and Gene eloped and were married six months later on October 8, 1948. They shared 51 years of marriage until his death in February 2000. They raised their four children in the Catholic faith, and Shirlee loved going to Mass with them on Sundays at Our Lady of Fatima Church, even though she was Jewish. Shirlee longed to become a Catholic, so she fulfilled the requirements and became a Catholic on Easter Sunday of 1991. Ever since then, she would never be seen without a crucifix around her neck. Shirlee was a homemaker all her life, but she enjoyed volunteering for, and attending, many functions at the Delaware Officer’s Club in New Castle. With her outgoing and bubbly personality, she made many lifelong friends there, including Glen and Jeannie Densmore, Dave Bennett, Joan and (the late) Jack Weber, and many more who have since passed on. She also enjoyed going to Delaware Park and Atlantic City, and hosting poker parties at her home that lasted into the wee hours of the morning. She was a fantastic dancer, especially dancing the jitterbug with family friend, Al Dohring. She was a great bowler and won many trophies in her league. She was an avid fan of the Phillies and Eagles. With her sports memorabilia surrounding her, she could often be seen jumping up and down on the sofa, while yelling at the players and referees. She was the absolute best at solving difficult crossword puzzles and she loved Wheel of Fortune.
The most important thing in life was her family. Gene and Shirlee were extremely proud that their children and grandchildren and their son-in-law were members of the Delaware National Guard (with three still active members). Along with her husband, she was preceded in death by her son,Warrant Officer Gene Dennis Duffy in 1973, and her brother Joel Meshon in 2001. Shirlee leaves behind to cherish her memory, her children, Helen Grubb and her husband George, of Townsend, DE, Senior Master Sergeant John Duffy and his wife Jocylin, of
New Castle, DE, and Kevin Duffy and his girlfriend, Diane Peirce, of New Castle, DE; grandchildren, Jean Duffy, Sergeant First Class Chris (Calvin) Grevis, and Specialist Ricky Sarmiento; and great-grandaughter, Natalie Grevis. She also leaves behind her sister, Bea Lader and her husband Mort of Conshohocken, PA; and the following people who are like family to us: Al Dohring, Elaine “Toyota” Pauleuc, Richard Kane, the oxygen man from Med-Equip, Richard and Elaine Cavanaugh, and Jim “Fred” Yetter.
The family wishes to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who called, visited, sent cards, or always asked us how Mom was doing. A very special “thank you” to General Francis Vavala and his wife Jane for visits, cards, letters, and calls. Mom thought the world of them both. We also give thanks to Linda Granger who gave live-in care for five months, and former daughter-in-law, Sally Hong, who gave live-in care until the time of Mom’s passing. Also, Nurse Myrna and caregiver Dee from Compassionate Care Hospice, and Sister Theresa and Father Etim from Our Lady of Fatima Church. God bless all of you.
Visitation will be held from 4 pm to 6 pm on Sunday, June 2, 2013, at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 1000 N. DuPont Parkway, New Castle, DE. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 am on Monday, June 3, 2013, at Our Lady of Fatima R.C. Church, 801 N. DuPont Parkway, New Castle, DE. Burial will be held privately.
As a true patriot, Shirlee asked that in lieu of flowers contributions be made in her memory to The Delaware National Guard Foundation, Attention: State Comptroller’s Office, First Regiment Road, Wilmington, DE 19808.