Shirley East Matheny, 82, of Wake Forest, went to her heavenly home on Sunday, November 22, while holding her husband’s hand. Daughter of the late Robert East and Ruby East Nall. Shirley is survived by Durward Matheny, her high school sweetheart and devoted husband of 62 years. She is also survived by her brother, Charles East and his wife, Bonnie of Haymarket, VA; her nephews and their wives: Mike East and his wife Kim of Angier, Chris East and his wife Taela of Raleigh, and Jeff East and his wife Liz of Haymarket, VA; as well as her beloved great-nieces and great-nephews: Jessica East, Carley East, Kayla East, Will East, Robert East, Thomas East and Lauren East. She is also survived by her cousin Brenda Marshall.
Although Shirley and Durward had no children of their own, they were the doting godparents to six godsons: Randall Ray, Cam McCamy, Ashby Ray, Jacob Pitsenbarger, Jonathan Williams and Drew Wilkinson. Shirley had many special friends whom she loved dearly and who loved her deeply in return.
Always artistically inclined, Shirley studied fashion illustration at Richmond Professional Institute, now Virginia Commonwealth University, and will be long-remembered for her talents in watercolors, flower arranging, calligraphy and decorating, as well as her natural elegance and intelligence. Her delight in the Outlander television series was perhaps exceeded only by her love for all things English, from travels there to novels, Masterpiece Theater productions, and England’s monarchial histories. Shirley graced this world with impeccable style and beauty and, in fact, was mistaken for Jackie Kennedy on numerous occasions while she and Durward worked for the FBI in Washington during the Kennedy Administration.
Many special people deserve thanks for loving and supporting Shirley during her illness. Her family is deeply grateful to oncologist Dr. Robert Wehbie and his staff for their dedicated treatment during her three-and-a-half year valiant battle with cancer. The “Lunch Ladies” from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Wake Forest, rallied around her and Durward throughout her illness to provide love, food, fun and other support. Likewise did her creative art group of many years show much love and concern during this challenging time. Throughout, Mother Sarah Phelps, her St. John’s priest, gave comforting spiritual guidance, and, most recently, the Transitions Hospice team provided wonderful care also. Shirley received so many kindnesses from so many people, all greatly appreciated by the family.
Shirley will be inurned in the columbarium at her beloved St. John’s, where she was a dedicated member and served as parish secretary for 18 years. Services will be private due to COVID restrictions. The service will be on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 1 p.m.
Although she loved flowers, her family requests memorial contributions be made to Transitions Hospice or St. John’s Flower Guild.
One of Shirley’s favorite authors was Charles Finch, writer of English Victorian mysteries. In a dedication of A Death in the Small Hours, he wrote “until we die, we will remember every single thing, recall every word, love every loss: then we will, as we must, leave it to others to love, love that can grow brighter and deeper till the very end, gaining strength and getting more precious all the way.”
A service of Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Wake Forest, NC.