Shirley R. Petillo

PORTLAND – Shirley R. Petillo, 94, of Portland, passed away at home in her sleep on Jan. 4, 2021. She was born in Seal Cove, Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada, on Feb. 1, 1926. Shirley was the daughter of Albert and Pearl Brown Ripley. Her family moved to Calais, Maine when she was just a year old.

She often spoke of the farm where she grew up and attended the local schools. Shirley played on the basketball team at Calais Academy, before her family moved to Portland, where she graduated her senior year from Portland High School, class of 1943.

After graduation, Shirley became a hairdresser, where she made several life-long friends, spending much time together at Sebago Lake and on a bowling team. Shirley later became a secretary on the Portland waterfront, where she met her husband Gavin. They were married on May 3, 1952 and had a 57-year marriage, before Gavin’s death in 2009.

Shirley worked as a secretary and office manager for several companies, including Ametek, MBI Security, and USG&G Insurance. She was never too busy to help her sons, grandchildren or anyone else. She always put others first, always pulling for the underdog, often with words of encouragement. Shirley was a spry 94-year-old, maintaining her independence living at home, taking care of herself and driving her car. She enjoyed getting out in the warm weather, doing yard work and going for walks in her neighborhood, of 56 years, where she was surrounded by many caring neighbors.

Shirley was predeceased by her husband Gavin; a granddaughter Aviana Petillo; her sisters Verna Beek, Annie Ross and Olive Ross. She is survived by two sons, Paul of South Portland, Frank and his wife Terry of Bethel; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, a small family service will be held at the A.T. Hutchins Funeral Home, 660 Brighton Ave, Portland, followed by an interment in Calvary Cemetery.

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