Shirley Dunn

Obituary of Shirley G. Dunn

Shirley G. Dunn went to her glory on the morning on March 12, 2022 as a light snow and a roll of thunder blanketed Beesley’s Point. Shirley made her grand debut in Philadelphia on June 3, 1935 as the loving daughter of James and Helen Sutton Garafola and treasured granddaughter of Myrtle Sutton. She delighted in teaching her little sister, Reggie Botkin, life’s great lessons. As a youth, Shirley actively performed with the Liberty Bell Drum and Bugle Corp of Philadelphia where she learned teamwork and discipline while making lifelong friends. Having moved to her own apartment at age eighteen, Shirley took several office jobs. She saved her money and her weekends for time with her girlfriends at summer rentals at the beach and Eagles Games at Franklin Field and beyond. They joked about becoming old ladies together at the Shore. Shirley took a job at Gulf Oil Corporation where she shepherded a misfit team of young salesmen whose lack of experience was met only by their self-assuredness, including one in particular who was fresh from a stint on the 1952 U.S. Olympic Soccer Team. They dictated correspondence, and when they invariably noted that the resulting letters did not reflect what they had dictated, Shirley routinely stated “I know, but that’s what you meant to say.” Shirley continued to make lasting friendships as her career extended to the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office and her cherished role as secretary to the Honorable Michael McHale, Mayor of Sea Isle City. Having settled in Sea Isle in the 1970’s, Shirley became its consummate volunteer. Among her activities: leading the environmental commission with her pal, Kathy Giebel; spearheading the Save Sarah the Sea Turtle Campaign; and with her buddy, Joe DiStasio, organizing the annual Special Olympics Crabbing Competition. She encouraged several entrepreneurs throughout the Sea Isle community, including her favorite, a young Joe O’Connor, the boy next door who left hand-written invoices on her door after each grass cutting. In the early 1990’s, a reunion with her Gulf Oil colleagues led to a romance with the old soccer player whose letters she had rewritten decades earlier. On October 9, 1992, Shirley married John “Jack” Dunn at the Sea Isle United Methodist Church. They enjoyed many years in Sea Isle and Marco Island with family and dear friends. Marriage to Jack meant assuming the role of step-mother to two redheaded step-children and their charming sister. As step-mother to Jack Dunn, Jr., Karen Steele and Lynne Dunn, and their spouses, Alane Dunn, Donald Steele and Richard Hage, Shirley nurtured without ever attempting to replace their mother who had died tragically in 1990. Shirley assumed her favorite title of “Granny” in 1999 when Karen and Don blessed the family with triplets, Ian, Meredith and Grace Steele. Granny coordinated “Camp Sea Isle” for her grandchildren, where she served up the best tuna fish sandwiches, mac and cheese hot dog casseroles and liverwurst sandwiches. The girlfriends from her younger days joined her on the beach to lifeguard the grandchildren that no one had ever expected. With each passing fall and spring came a simple text of “On the Road Again,” signaling that Shirley and Jack were off on another adventure. Shirley and Jack’s love story took a sad twist in 2019 as Shirley suffered a debilitating stroke. But she endured the indignities of her illness with the same optimism and humor that she had displayed throughout her life. Shirley truly exemplified the fortitude referenced in an Eleanor Roosevelt quote which she lived by: “A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water.” And strong she was. As will her memory be in our hearts forever. Shirley is survived by her loving husband, Jack, and her adoring family and friends. Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at Sea Isle City United Methodist Church, JFK Blvd at Park Road, Sea Isle City, New Jersey. Pastor Melissa Doyle-Waid will officiate the 11:00 a.m. service. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family. Should you be so inclined, donations to the Sea Isle United Methodist Church, 4102 Central Avenue, Sea Isle City, NJ 08243 are appreciated. Seaislemethodist.org/donate Condolences may be left for the family at www.godfreyfuneralhome.com
Thursday
17
March

Visitation at Main Service

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Sea Isle City United Methodist Church
JFK Blvd At Park Road
Sea Isle City, New Jersey, United States
Thursday
17
March

Funeral Service

11:00 am
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Sea Isle City United Methodist Church
JFK Blvd At Park Road
Sea Isle City, New Jersey, United States
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