Shirley’s story began when she was born on Jan. 18, 1932, in her family’s home on Washington Avenue in Jamesport, N.Y. Since then, she became a North Fork native. She was a cheerleader and received several varsity letters before graduating from Riverhead High School. In fact, Shirley could still recite Riverhead’s fight song any time. Just one example of how truly dedicated she was.
She was born Shirley Mae Fleischman, the youngest of six older siblings, and also had another sister who died soon after birth. We all came into the picture soon after she caught Alex’s eye at her sister Claire’s wedding. It was on his birthday, May 28, 1950, that she became Mrs. Alexander Zuhoski.
They built their home together on Oregon Road in Cutchogue, where she began working as a beautician, mainly because she enjoyed being around people, but also to help support her family. Shirley worked alongside Alex until they sold their farm in the early 1970s, then worked as an aide to some of the local elderly. She instilled a strong work ethic in all of us by showing us how hard she worked. She hosted most all of our family gatherings and, of course, spent many nights playing cards with her dear friends. She was more actively involved in the church in her younger years but made certain all her children made their sacraments.
Shirley possessed an ability to always tell it how it was and had a tough outer shell with genuine warmth underneath.
We watched her fight up against several cancers and win. We are stronger because we knew her and watched her live her life.
She is survived by her children, Nancy Sacks of Mattituck, Denise Trifiletti of Jamesport, Maria Gaydosik of Southold and Alexander Zuhoski, M.D., of Aquebogue. She is also survived by all her grandchildren, Carrie, Nicole, Kristen, Justin, Alexis, Jake, Luke, Caleb and Aidan; and her great-grandson, Hunter.
A memorial will be held in June; a formal announcement will soon follow.
DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Homes is serving the family.
This is a paid notice.