DARIEN, Conn. — Shirley Jean (Brown) Gurliacci, a longtime resident of Darien, died Thursday, June 30, at Meadow Ridge Senior Living in Redding. She was 81.
She was born Jan. 12, 1935 in Cyclone, Pa., to Clarence and Anna (Stanko) Brown (later Ann Ehrman), and grew up in Butler, Pa. She attended a convent school and graduated from Butler High School in 1952. She was named after Shirley Temple.
After the divorce of her parents, Gurliacci lived with her mother and her five siblings in the countryside in Butler. Their home had no electricity or hot water, but her mother supplemented state aid with a vegetable garden, chickens and a milk cow.
As a young child, she was invited by an aunt who worked as a governess for a New York Stock Exchange official to choose one stuffed animal from one of the many in the children's playroom while the executive's family was away. She kept that big black dog for most of her life, later giving it to a relative. Her son, Mark, later became a director at the New York Stock Exchange.
She excelled in her high school classes, coming close to earning straight A's, and her handwriting was beautiful. Shortly after graduating from school, she moved with her family to Stamford, where she began working in secretarial positions.
In 1958, she married the love of her life, Anthony. Their marriage lasted 57 years until his death in 2015. They settled in Darien in 1963, then relocated to Medfield, Mass., in 1967, and then back to Darien in 1977, where they lived until 2013.
For many years, she worked as an administrative assistant for an insurance broker in Massachusetts. Back in Connecticut, she was an administrative assistant for several employers, including the president of Comtrend, later ADP Comtrend, in Stamford.
She was an avid reader, an accomplished cook, a sometime gardener and very handy in sewing on a button or adding a seam to shorten a pair of pants. She and her husband were active in church groups and activities for decades.
In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her parents and her brother, Charles Brown.
She is survived by her sisters, Margaret Brown of Concord, Tenn., Lorraine Brown of Worcester, Mass., Donna O'Neill of New York City (and husband, James), and Edna Gelman of Westport (and husband, Sheldon); stepsister Shirley Brewer (and husband, Carl) of Foxboro, Mass.; daughter, Lisa Gurliacci Rubinstein of Tel Aviv (and husband, Yoav); sons son, David Gurliacci of Stratford and Mark Gurliacci of Wilton (and wife Ingrid); and John P. Gurliacci of Stratford, a cousin who lived with the family.
She is also survived by her two grandchildren, Michael T. and Allison B. Gurliacci of Wilton.
Friends may call from 5 to 8, p.m. Tuesday, July 5, at Edward Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road, Darien. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 6, at St. John Roman Catholic Church, 1986 Post Road, Darien. Burial will follow at Spring Grove Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be sent to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312 or 800-342-2383.
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