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Shirley Stefanelli (95) Print E-mail
Life - Obits
Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Thursday, 19 January 2017 21:57
Shirley Stefanelli (95) was born to Blanche and Carl Ruddle in Santa Clara County, California. As a child she and her family traveled throughout the State and Country due to her father's occupation. As a young woman, Shirley used her musical talents, playing saxophone and guitar for the enjoyment of many. During World War II, Shirley served her Country by becoming our family's own "Rosie the Riveter," working at a shipbuilding plant in the Bay Area.

She met the love of her life, Robert Stefanelli, and the two were married at St. Joachim's Catholic Church in Madera on May 23, 1948. Becoming part of the Stefanelli family allowed Shirley to develop and use her culinary talents over the years at numerous family get-togethers and celebrations. Shirley was also an accomplished gardener, as anyone visiting the Stefanelli's home on West Fifth Street in Madera could testify.

Shirley and Bob raised two children: Dennis, born 1953; and Debbie, born 1955. Together, they owned and operated the Reed & Bell Drive-In at F Street and Gateway Drive in Madera for many years.

After Bob's death in 2000, and losing Dennis in 2001, Shirley moved to Santa Maria to be near Debbie and her family. Her gardening talents were put to use at her new home, including planting seeds gleaned from store-bought vegetables which resulted in some interesting produce! At holidays and family celebrations, she was always a part of the festivities, and will be missed.

Shirley finally gave up the good fight, after surviving many serious illnesses over the years, which only seemed to make her stronger. Preceding her were husband Bob, son Dennis, her parents and brother Carl, and the many beloved Stefanelli family members.

Surviving Shirley are daughter Debbie (Michael) Swann and their son Matthew (Amanda), and grandsons Jacob and Benjamin, and daughter Kelly; daughter-in-law Janet Stefanelli and her sons Brian (Sandy) and grandchildren Hana and Blake, and Kevin (Ashley); and numerous members of the Ruddle, Stefanelli, Swann, and Thompson families–cousins, in-laws, nieces, and nephews.

Mass will be celebrated at St. Joachim's Catholic Church, Madera, on Friday, January 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm. Burial at Calvary Cemetery, Madera, will take place after Mass.


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