Shirley J. (Dickinson) Skiffington, 90, died peacefully at home on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Born in Springfield to the late Walter and Helen (Morrissey) Dickinson, she was a longtime East Longmeadow resident. Shirley was a faithful communicant of St. Michael's Church in East Longmeadow and served as their Director of Religious Education. She also worked with the Elementary Education grade level special needs students in the East Longmeadow School System. She was predeceased by her husband, Dr. James S. Skiffington in 1973. She will be sadly missed by her children, James S. Skiffington, Jr. and his wife Christine and Joanne M. Skiffington, as well as her daughter-in-law Ann Skiffington and beloved grandchildren, Breanne Catrone and her husband Christopher, Kayla, Liam, Traigh and Declan Skiffington, Cailin Donovan and her fiance, Ryan McGuire, Madison and Griffin Donovan and her great grandson, Logan Sullivan. Shirley was also predeceased by her granddaughter, Brianna Donovan.
What do you say and how do you feel when you lose someone who was your Mom AND your Dad, your Nama, your "Pearl", your biggest fan, strongest advocate, trusted confidant and advisor, constant motivator and the anchor of your family. You feel an immense void but you are extremely grateful and you thank God for the blessing that she was in our lives and we were very fortunate to have her for so long.
A stay at home Mom who became a widow at the age of 42 she promised her 10 year old daughter and 11 year old son on the day of their father's passing when their world was turned upside down that everything would be alright and asked them not to worry. She never questioned the hand she was dealt. We never saw her shed a tear in front of us. Her independent, determined nature took charge and she went to work for the School System so her schedule would coincide with that of her children so she was always available for them. She remained in the system for 41 years, teaching several generations of the same families and loving every minute of it. She never wanted to retire. It wasn't a job for her, it was her passion to help educate children. All the kids knew Mrs. Skiff for her patient, kind, fun-loving spirit combined with a keen sense of humor. Children and family were her life.
She was always up for anything (especially shopping) and into something. She enjoyed her road trips to the Cape to Baxter's Boat House or her favorite spot for a lobster roll and glass of Pinot Grigio at Barnacle Billy's Etc. in Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine but she enjoyed nothing more than supporting her grandchildren in all of their various activities. Where they were, she was and she was so proud! They were the brightest light in her life.
When you were going through something hard and wondered where God was she would remind you that the teacher is always quiet during the test. A fitting response from the long-tenured Director of Religious Education. She would suggest you pray, hope and don't worry as worry would be useless to you.
Her strong faith sustained her and helped her navigate the health challenges she faced head on with unrelenting fierce determination. She walked down many difficult roads over her 90 years but she ended at a beautiful destination - a just reward for a life well lived and no one deserves it more than she does. A joyful reunion with her beloved "Skiff".
She was thankful for each day God granted her but she was ready to return home. Rest now in God's loving embrace. You finally made it home. Your life has changed, not ended. Your sight restored and your mind cleared. We'll remember your smile, your laughter and your joy of the simple things in life.
You are our hero, you made us who we are today and we will live on in your honor with faith, hope and love and endeavor to make you proud. We should all be guided by her principles. She led us by example and set the standards high.
She shouldered a heavy burden all by herself at a young age and Mom, you provided us with a wonderful happy life thanks to your selfless nature. Your love and loyalty had no boundaries. It was never about you, it was always about us.
You were a giver not a taker and you gave us all you had to give and more. No one can ever fill your shoes. Until we meet again...Slainte!
A special thank you to her caregiver, Brenda Nooney, for her loving, compassionate care over the last few years which enabled her to stay in the comfort of her own home under the watchful supervision of her loyal companion, Shadow.
Family and friends may meet for Shirley's Funeral Mass on Saturday, February 6th at 10:00 A.M. at St. Michael's Church. Burial will follow in New St. William Cemetery, Ware. Wilbraham Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer's Association (AL2.org), the Macular Degeneration Association (macularhope.org) or to St. Michael's Church 128 Maple St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028.
In keeping with state mandated Covid guidelines, visitors are required to wear a mask and practice safe, social distancing at all times.
To view a video of the Funeral Mass please click <<HERE>>.
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