Thursday, October 13, 2005

Obituary for Shirley Hurwitz Paull

"On August 14, 2005, Shirley Hurwitz Paull, 80 years young, died peacefully at home after four months of illness. Shirley was born in Clinton, NC, on March 13, 1925 and was the youngest of the five children of Freda Rosenfeld Hurwitz and Isaac Hurwitz. Shirley's family- the only Jewish family in Clinton for many years- owned The Hurwitz Store, selling drygoods from 1910 through the 1960s.

Shirley attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during World War II, and graduated in 1945. She was a student in the first class that admitted women into the Pharmacy School. Shirley worked as a pharmacist from 1945 until 1999, and made many life-long friends in the Chapel Hill-Hillsborough area during those years of work. It was only the advent of computerization that finally convinced her to retire.

Shirley was a huge fan of all UNC sports, especially the women's basketball team. She delighted in the rivalry with Duke, and always had much to say (none of it very polite) about Duke basketball. It pleased her greatly when her only granddaughter, Becca Falk, attended the UNC Women's basketball camp this summer.

Shirley was married for 46 years to the village curmudgeon, played by Rafael Ralph Paull. Ralph died in March of 1999. Shirley has two surviving sisters, Evelyn Dean Lohoffer DeBoeck and Beatrice Hurwitz Stein. She is also survived by her oldest daughter, Marie Creed and her husband, Dick; her middle child Wicca (Leslie) Davidson and her husband, David; her granddaughter, Becca Falk; her youngest child Noelle Paull and Noelle's partner, Andrew Hefner.

She will also be sadly missed by her "blonde daughters" Becky Kornegay and Stephanie Bass.

There will be a memorial service on Saturday, August 27 at The Gathering Place in Fearrington Village at 3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, it would please the family if donations were made to The Rape Crisis Center, where Shirley was on the board for many years; the Jewish Federation; the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina; the Metropolitan Opera, or the charity of your choice.

And, if during any future elections, you voted for the Democratic candidate of your choice, Shirley - who was a proud Yellow Dog Democrat - would be totally delighted."

I lifted this from the News and Observer's archives today. My mom and Shirley Hurwitz were close friends back in Clinton, NC, in the years before World War II and then lost touch for many years. Later, without my knowledge of her relationship with my mom, I befriended Mrs. Paull when she was working in a pharmacy in Hillsborough, NC. Again, without complicity, my nephew, Matt, met Shirley and worked with her through the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. I find it interesting that three generations of my family knew her independently of each other, only to make a connection one day during a casual conversation.

In going through mom's old photographs, I found this one years ago and it is one of my favorites. My mom is on the extreme right and beside her, to the left, is Shirley Hurwitz.

I called and introduced myself today to Shirley's youngest daughter who also lives here in Durham. She did not know about this photograph, so I sent it to her and asked if she minded if I posted her mom's obituary here to show our family's respect for her presence in our lives. What a wonderful lady and a role model of activism for us all.

I forgot to ask about the reference to "blonde" daughters, but hope that someone can explain the term to me. Perhaps that will come with identification of the other ladies in the photograph.

On Friday night, the 14th of October, I received an email from Noelle identifying the others in the photograph. They are from the left, Shirley's niece Gayla, unidentified, and Mildred Meiser, one of Shirley's best friends until the day Mildred died.


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