Shirlee Isabel Rawlins Smith was born on December 22, 1934 in Montclair, NJ, she was the youngest of four children born to the late John and Mabel Rawlins of St. Kitts, W.I.
Shirlee graduated from Montclair High School and went on to attend Newark State College (today known as Kean College). Graduating with a degree in education, Shirlee started her teaching career in Totowa, NJ, and then transferred to the Plainfield, NJ school system where she taught for over 25 years, retiring in 1999. Steadfast in her dedication to education and children, she continued to tutor children with special needs until 2005. An avid bird watcher (member of the Audubon Society) and animal lover (especially Kerry Blue Terriers), Shirlee enjoyed traveling with her family and friends. She loved being a member of St. Marks Alter Guild in Plainfield, NJ and teaching Sunday school.
On October 7, 1961 Shirlee married Eugene Smith and were blessed with two daughters, Evadne and Leslie. The family resides in Warren, NJ.
Throughout her life Shirlee touched the hearts of many. Her devotion to her students was unsurpassed and went well beyond the classroom both in school and at church. She would take her students on educational trips or bring them to her house for a BBQ and/or to just hang out. She believed in giving them the attention and guidance needed to help them succeed. She encouraged everyone to persevere despite their challenges. For two special students this continued through college, into adulthood and up until her passing.
Shirlee is predeceased by her sister Elsie (Kitten) Darrell and her brother Lester Rawlins.
She leaves to morn her loss, her devoted and loving husband of 56 years, Eugene, her daughters Evadne Griffin and Leslie Smith, step-daughter Adrienne Chambers, adoring grandsons Owen Griffin and Randy Chambers, sister Bernice Ming, niece Jorge-Ann Costley, nephew Cohilo Rawlins, great-nephew Johnathan Fain and former students Frankie Nord and Tamequa Robinson, as well as extended family in Bermuda, St. Kitts, Curacao, England, the Netherlands, and a host of dear friends that are too numerous to name.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 10:00AM to 11:00AM at St. Marks Episcopal Church, 1430 Park Ave, Plainfield, NJ 07060 followed by a Mass at 11:00 AM.