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Shirley (nee Roanoke).

Resident of Wildwood Crest, NJ, known as the “Mayor of St. Paul Ave” and formally South Philadelphia, Grays Ferry section passed away on November 24, 2022, with family by her side.

Shirley was predeceased by her husband and love of her life John (Jack) Palermo on June 5th,1980 and remained in love with him till her passing.  She is survived by two daughters: Debra (Capuano) & Theresa (Ferrante) and her son John (Jack) and is also survived by 2 grandsons, Christian and Johnny.  Shirley grew up in the Gray Ferry Section of Philadelphia and attended St Gabriel’s school and parish and John Bartram High School.  She worked for over 30 years as a food server at her cousin’s luncheonette.

Shirley enjoyed the last 25 years of her life spending most of her time at her shore house in Wildwood Crest. Her passion was cleaning and more cleaning, especially the windows. She was also an expert with an iron, making sure all her son’s clothing was pressed.  Nothing satisfied her more than a house that sparkled.

She was a fan favorite for all the neighbors at the shore. The summer was not official until you saw her and kissed the concrete lion on the lawn. She gladly sat on the front patio and was greeted by all passersby’s going to the beach. She was given the title, “Mayor of St. Paul Ave” and she held that title for many years.

In the winters, she lived with her son Jack in Girard Estate, where she was notorious for her cleaning and constant movement, never enjoying any normal senior activities such as bingo, senior centers or trips. She lived to wash, iron and go to Mass.

She was an advocate for St. Rita of Cascia Shrine and had total faith in Jesus Christ and St Rita. She attended mass regularly there although she resided in St. Monica parish. Anyone who was in ill health was given a St Rita prayer card and as reassured that St. Rita would heal you.

Shirley was not extravagant; lived a meager life and knew the value of saving. She never traveled the world or saw any sights other than Disney World. She loved her home at the shore and was totally satisfied being there from May to October.

We believe Shirley is now reunited with her love, Jack after more than 40 years apart and is now finally at peace.

Friends and Relatives are invited to her viewing Tuesday, November 29th at 9:00am at St. Rita’s Church, 1166 S. Broad St. Phila PA 19146.  Funeral Mass 10:00am.  Internment SS Peter & Paul Cemetery.


  • John Teofilak November 26, 2022 4:21 pm

    I too was a recipient of a Saint Rita prayer card from Shirley when I became ill with cancer. In a tone that only those who know Shirley would understand, she handed me the card and demanded, “you take this and pray to her, she’s going to heal you”. I did, and she did, and I am forever grateful for the time that Sharon and I got to spend with Shirley on the beach, on the front patio, or in her home reaching for that high spot on the window that she just couldn’t reach. We love her deeply, everyone loved Shirley, and life on St. Paul will never be the same. God Bless you, Shirley, may you and Jack finally shine in the perpetual light of our Lord, Jesus Christ. ❤🙏🌊

  • Deb Marsden Massey November 26, 2022 6:35 pm

    My condolences to Shirley’s family and friends. May she rest in Heavenly peace🙏🏻

  • Mildred & Leonard Muscelli November 26, 2022 7:02 pm

    With our deepest sympathy. Shirley was a great Lady. We will all miss her at the shore.

  • Ann Marie Garwood November 27, 2022 3:30 am

    Shirley was a sweet lady that became a friend of my mother. After my mother passed we continued to be friends. Had lots of good times. Will miss her deeply.RIp

  • Hugh Keough, Esq. November 27, 2022 10:39 pm

    We are really going to miss Shirley on St. Paul Ave in Wildwood Crest. She was indeed “The Mayor of St. Paul Ave.” We live two houses down from her and loved visiting with her when we arrived in town from Florida. Every summer she would greet us with a big “Hello” and ask how our winter was. Our vacation did not officially start until we checked in with Shirl. I’m going to miss greeting her with a South PHILLY “Yo Shirl” the next time I come to town. She was always super nice to my wife Noël, my children, my nephews, and all my family and friends. We were fortunate to have her as a neighbor. When my Dad retired to the Crest he and Shirley would go to Mass together. Later on sometimes she would walk all the way to the Church to attend mass. She was a devout Catholic.
    Her house was immaculate and she took great pride in it. She also took great pride in being from South Philly and was a fixture on the beach and loved getting a great tan every summer. She leaves a huge void on our block on St. Paul Ave.
    My sincere condolences to her children, grandchildren, and family and friends. She was a lovely person and I wish there were more people like her. Rest in Peace Shirley. May God Bless you.

  • S.Patrick Maureen,IHM November 28, 2022 12:40 am

    Shirley was a very dear friend since Debbie and Terri were in first grade. Please accept all my prayers and sympathy to both of you and Jack. You were
    So good to her and she loved all of you so much. I know St.Rita had the Heavens full of roses on Shirley’s arrival. She will always be in my heart and prayers.

  • Karim Mullen November 29, 2022 12:26 pm

    She will be truly missed. She treated all of Jack workers as family. It’s a honor to have met such a kind beautiful lady.

  • Diane Kraemer December 1, 2022 2:33 am

    Our dearest neighbor Shirley, East St. Paul will never be the same without you 😔 we are 2 doors down at 303 and she welcomed us with open arms in the summer of 2009, out first summer with the house. A constant smile, always a good morning, life without cares at the beach ❤️ Our granddaughters, ages 7 and 6, from the first time walking to the beach would stop and pet and kiss the lion because Shirley said it was good luck to kiss the lion! She was a kind and gentle woman and we will have a hard time walking pass the lion without her morning hello or late afternoon wave😔 Rest In Peace dear Shirley, forever in our prayers 🏖

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