Shirley Abrams

Shirley Abrams

Tuesday, March 27th, 1945 - Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020
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Shirley Abrams, 75, passed away unexpectedly on December 2, 2020 at Physicians Regional Medical Center in Naples after complications from a fall.

A small memorial service was held by her family on Wednesday, December 15, 2020 on the beach at her favorite spot, Gumbo Limbo at sunset.

She was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, the youngest of three daughters to Edith and Samuel Shapiro. She is survived by her daughter, Kim Shapiro and her husband Brian Shapiro, her grandchildren, Tyler and Lilliana; her two sisters Barbara Greenberg, Fran Cornelius and her husband Bob Cornelius; her niece Stacy, and nephews Michael and Jeff.

Shirley was an amazing single mother to her only daughter, a loving Gigi (gorgeous grandma) to her grandchildren, a wonderful sister and a kind friend. She had the warmest heart, a witty sense of humor, unbound generosity and an infectious smile.

She lived in Brookline, Massachusetts for 41 years before moving permanently to Naples, Florida. She began working at Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency as a Loan Officer in 1975 and was promoted to Development Officer in 1979. She “retired” in 2002 but continued to work part time until 2013 spending over 39 years with the company. She made a positive impression on everyone she met, to know her was to love her. She took pride in her strong work ethic, and made many good friends throughout her years at Mass Housing. She played the guitar, loved to sing and donated to many charities including the ASPCA, democratic party, wounded warriors and UNICEF. She enjoyed spending time in the cape with her longtime friends Renee and Cole Landers as well as her close friend Susan Adelson. She cherished the limited time she had with her California-based daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, and adored her family and friends.

Shirley was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2014. She was an advocate for herself, went to monthly Parkinson’s meetings with her sister Fran, walked everyday with her sister Barbara and kept up her exercise routine. She felt blessed to have the support of her two sisters and brother-in-law Bob, throughout her battle with Parkinson’s.

Shirley was always smiling and the most caring person you will every know. If you told her a secret, well…you can be sure she kept it safe forever. She was grateful to spend her final years in Naples, Florida where she enjoyed spending time relaxing with a good book or movie and treasured her breathtaking, peaceful view of the lake. Her pure heart and generous soul will be missed. Quite simply, Shirley was the best person anyone could hope to meet. She impacted so many lives without even knowing it.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research A celebration of life will take place in December 2021. More details to come.
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Eleanor White

Posted at 06:36pm
Dear Kim and the rest of the family of Shirley Abrams, I joined the MA Housing Finance Agency as Chief of Operations and later Deputy Director in 1983. Although I had met Shirley when I was working for HUD, I got to really know her at MHFA and -- as others have said --to know Shirley was to love her! She and I were two of the very few women professionals at the Agency, were roughly the same age, and Jewish. Shirley was highly-competent, committed to the mission of affordable housing, and a dedicated worker. But more important, she was warm, friendly, caring, funny (but never cruel), and a joy to work with and be around. When I got to know Shirley, my then two sons were 8 and 2, joined 4 years later by their younger brother (now 44, 39, and 33!); Shirley and I traded "kid" stories and advice. Kim, she loved you SO much and was so proud of you! I left the Agency in 1995 and founded an affordable housing consulting firm, but we kept in touch periodically. Although we did not connect much after she moved to Florida, I kept track of her through several mutual close friends. Simply put, Shirley Abrams was the BEST, is gone far too soon, and will be missed.
Eleanor White,, January 8, 2021.

Kim Shapiro

Posted at 10:43am
How do I even begin to put into words, my mom? She meant more to me and my family than any other person on the planet. She was truly the best mom anyone could ever have. I inherited my love of music, singing, shopping, and good food from my mom. Back in the day, there was never a time she would pass up a visit to Saks off 5th, an outlet mall, or a rack of baby back ribs. She taught me how to be a good person. She was the most generous and kind person I have ever known. She would give away any item in her closet if you liked it, and damn…there were a lot of things in her closet! Oh yes…she had a great sense of humor. She made me laugh with her witty sense of humor and always made me want to return the smile. Christmas was always a big deal at my house. As soon she married my dad, she enjoyed real tree every December and some of her favorite decorations hung around all year. We always went to see the Boston Ballet perform the nutcracker for the holidays and tried to keep up the tradition with my children as well. (I am thinking we got Tyler to sit through it for one year, but Lilly and I will continue this tradition if I have a say. My mom also took me to the old south church every Christmas Eve, another wonderful tradition where she would cry because the candles were so beautiful and had a crush on the minister there. Christmas with the rat pack was her absolute favorite Christmas album. To this day, beginning on December first, that album is on our most played list.

But she was not just my mom, she was Gigi to my children. She spoiled them every visit just as she spoiled me growing up. When they were little, she knitted booties and teddy bears. She dressed them to the nines, and we looked forward to every visit from coast to coast. We frequented the Naples Zoo, the LA Zoo, and even Santa Barbara zoo. She baked with us, played with us, and was everything a Gigi could be. Even from across the country, we shared our love of movies and music. She tried to face time some of Tyler’s big games and Lilly’s recitals. And up until recently, she flew in to celebrate many birthdays. She was so proud of Tyler and Lilly and their many accomplishments.

And she was not just a mom and a Gigi, she was a sister. I always thought how lucky she was to be able to reconnect with her sisters later in life. Naples was a utopia for her in so many ways. Again, with the shopping and the early-bird specials and the wonderful brunches and dinners at “the club”. They went to many open houses just to look… (I guess that is a thing in Florida?). They braved the alligator sightings and “Oh my Gauze” (her favorite store) and I am guessing they shared more in the past 20 years than they ever did in their childhood. I will just get a tad political and say how much she LOVED Obama. I bought her a hat that said “I Miss Barak” which I just found, brand new in the closet because she told me that Naples may not be the right place to wear it. Lately, she has been binge-watching lots of TV, although she has always been a movie buff. Some of her favorite shows of all times were Xfiles, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones and the newest binge was Outlander. She was crushing hard on Sam Heugan and I know Auntie Barbara and my mom bonded lately over that one.

She was also an aunt and a cousin. She often talked to me about the zooms she shared with the cousins over the last year. Back in the day, she loved to take my cousin Jeff to Celtics games, and I have already told Maryann what a saint my mom said she was. She enjoyed spending time with Michael and Robin when they came to visit and laughing with Stacy and all her crazy dog stories.
I cannot say I saved the best for last, but my mom probably would have. She absolutely adored her wonderful, fabulous friends. Many of you told me on the phone that she was the kindest soul, had the biggest heart, and was the best friend ever. Aunt Sue told me that the day after they met, my mom brought her lilacs from her garden for her birthday. I will never forget those lilacs…they always welcomed me with the sweet scent of home…She was proud of those lilacs and many other things… Growing up we made many trips to the cape to spend time with Auntie Renee and Uncle Cole, a tradition which we have continued with my children as well. I am sure there are many stories to tell from Mass Housing or the birthday gang, that I have never heard. Most of you have known her for decades and that says a lot… She was so grateful for all of you in her life, just as I am. You are all appreciated more than you know.

Below are the zoom link and password to the recorded memorial service held on 12/15/20. I posted here what I said on the zoom because these are the thoughts and the memories I hold of my mom.

About the slideshow…The teacher in me wanted to narrate for you all, but Brian talked me out of it. So at least I feel the need to preface the pictures…If we were to go in order...the little girl, in the beginning, is supposed to be my mom. I was told by my mom that it is probably my Auntie Barbara because my grandparents told her that she looked exactly like her sister, so if she wanted to know what she looked like as a little girl, she should just look at Barbara’s pictures. I wish I could find more of her and her friends, but since she all loved you so much, I put as many pictures of you as I could find. Last, well, sorry but I am an only child so there is way too many of me and my family...I hope you enjoy!

Go to photos and videos, click on watch tribute video and enter pin Kswe#8*i

Amelia,Patrick and Trevor

Posted at 10:04am
Shirley brought so many gifts to our life. We will never forget her!
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Amy Jacobs

Posted at 12:31pm
It is still surreal that Shirley is gone. So lucky to have been Shirley's friend, I will always remember her kindness, her easy manner, her sense of fun and humor, her strength, intelligence and her wisdom. The phrase "beautiful inside and out" was coined for Shirley, who treated everyone with great warmth and would go out of her way to be there for her many friends, such a calming and wonderful soul. Even my parents, who had never met Shirley, loved her. When I was visiting them years ago, Shirley was having a "Tweety" (the cartoon bird) phase. While in a store, my father excitedly spotted a Tweety vest and we decided I should bring it back to MA for Shirley. He christened her, "Shirl, the Girl", and my parents always asked about her.
Shirley was magical. I wish we could all be like her. Everything was "just ducky" (a Shirley phrase) when Shirley was around. She will always be here in my heart, never gone. Every time I sing along to a Beatles song, I'll hear Shirley's voice, so much better than mine, alongside my own. There's so much to say about Shirley; she was one-of-a-kind. Love you, Shirley. My thoughts are with Kim, Brian, Lilly, Tyler, Barbara and Franny.

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