Obituary of Shirley Theresa Pallante
Shirley Theresa Pallante (nee Benjamin) of Westville, NJ, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and sister, died peacefully at home on June 2, 2022, at the age of 86. She was surrounded by her family. Actively engaged in life until mere weeks before her death, she displayed strength and positivity in the face of a sudden and daunting cancer diagnosis.
Born on January 9, 1936, in Philadelphia, Shirley grew up in Woodbury Heights, NJ, in a
household that included her mother, grandmother, sister and three brothers. Sadly, when she was just two years old, she lost her father to a sudden illness and forever treasured the only photo of him holding her as a toddler.
Shirley loved to swim and as a teenager was both a lifeguard and pageant winner in local beauty and talent competitions. She met her future husband Francis (Frank) Pallante at Gloucester Catholic High School in Gloucester, NJ. They were married on December 20, 1956, at the Pearl Harbor Navy Chapel and had their eldest daughter in Hawaii. They lived briefly in Portland and Seattle before returning to their Gloucester County roots and adding a son and three more daughters to their family.
Shirley enjoyed all the things that come with having an adoring husband, five children, and a
large ensemble of cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends. She lived on River Drive in Westville for 53 years in a house that she and her husband lovingly renovated and filled with happy memories. Married for nearly 63 years, they were best friends and life-long partners until his death in 2020. For decades, they enjoyed collecting antiques and participating in the Garden State Coin Club together. In their retirement years, Shirley and Frank gathered the entire family together for an epic trip to visit England and Scotland, as well as her grandmother’s childhood home in beautiful County Donegal, Ireland.
As a mother, Shirley baked incredible cakes and cherished holiday events, summer vacations,
and family milestones, always dressing for the occasion, even if it involved a birthday dinner at
home. The turn-of-the century house was filled with books and reading was the only permissible activity for kids who might find themselves awake after bedtime or before a reasonable hour in the morning. She was enormously proud of her grandchildren and reveled in their concerts, recitals, baseball, soccer and softball games, graduations, and weddings. She loved to sew, and would cheerfully make curtains, clothes, and other projects for her loved ones. She even sewed custom pockets on her husband’s hospital gown during his last days.
Shirley is survived by daughters Debora Hill (Lawrence) of Queensbury, NY; Maria Pallante-Hyun (Christopher Hyun) of Washington, DC; Suzanne Pallante (former spouse Wayne Buckley) of Westville, NJ; and Shirley Keegan (Patrick) of Flanders, NJ, as well as half-sister Rita Callahan, half-brother Walter E. Aurand ("Dee Dee"); brother-in-law James J. Pallante, Sr.; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins who were important to her.
She was devoted to her ten grandchildren: Jennifer Kraft and husband Raymond; Lawrence Hill and wife Samantha, Nina Pallante and partner Lou Gonzalez, Isabella Hyun, Spenser Hyun, Aaron Buckley, Brandon Buckley, Benjamin Keegan and wife Anna, Madison Keegan, and Owen Keegan. She marveled at her great grandchildren: Luca Long; Beckett Hill; Freya Hill, Zoey Marie Gonzalez; Francis Gabriel Gonzalez; and Milo Burks-Keegan.
She is preceded in death by husband Francis T. Pallante, Sr., son Francis T. Pallante, Jr.; great grandson Lorenzo Long; parents Virginia Landless Aurand and Joseph Paul Benjamin; brother Joseph H. Benjamin; and half-brother Eugene (“Bo”) Aurand.
Friends may call on June 9, 2022, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm and June 10, 2022, from 8:30 am to 9:15 am at the McGuinness Funeral Home, 34 Hunter Street, Woodbury, NJ.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on June 10, 2022, at 10:00 am at St. Joachim Parish, 601 W. Browning Road, Bellmawr, NJ, with burial and committal services to follow at New St. Mary’s Cemetery, Bellmawr.
Memorial contributions in Shirley’s name may be made to the American Lung Foundation
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley Pallante, please visit Tribute Store
share the memories … share love … ShareLife® at www.mcgfuneral.com