Hundreds of members of the Lilburn community arrived Saturday morning to help family and friends celebrate the life and accomplishments of Patti-Jo Shapiro.
There was standing room only as Cantor Donna Faye Marcus led the service in both Hebrew and English prayers at the request of Patti-Jo several weeks before her passing. In addition, Cantor Marcus performed a beautiful acapella rendition of one of Shapiro’s favorite songs “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Shapiro’s mother, Ann Vyce, spoke briefly and thanked the community for loving and caring for her amazing daughter. She stood next to a beautiful portrait of her daughter and sprays of yellow roses and other flower arrangements of yellow, orange and pink.
Her sister Michele Slatnick reminisced about Shapiro’s love of education and how by sharing a room with her sister she naturally became her first student in life lessons. One of her first lessons was how to keep a tidy room. Another fond memory was Shapiro’s sense of humor. One day after Michele had failed to return her sister’s favorite sweater she discovered a lost and found ad placed in the high school newspaper ‘Seeking lost pink sweater. Michele, call me!”
Shapiro’s daughters Alaina and Laurel joined each other for support at the front of the chapel and shared a few of their mother’s values and inspirational poems, while her cousin Lori Kaplan shared a few stories of growing up together in Connecticut and co-miserating about all of the problems associated with being middle children.
Friends Melissa Schreiber, Kim Campbell and Pam Montgomery spoke of their life-long friendship with Patti-Jo, and high-school sweetheart, Bill Killen, spoke of their close relationship over the years and how their lives had diverged but continually came back together over the past few decades. He shared the story of when Patti-Jo worked as the salad bar hostess at Bonanza steakhouse during their teenage years and how overnight he became an avid salad lover.
After the service, members of the Lilburn Woman’s Club provided refreshments while guests mingled with family members who had flown in from all over the country.
It was a fitting tribute and celebration for my good friend Patti-Jo Shapiro. I have no doubt that she would have been very moved at the outpouring of love and respect.