It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Shirley Jean (Haugen) Gasperetti, born in Norcross, Minnesota on December 2nd, 1936 and born to eternal life this December 6th, in Tacoma, Washington. Shirley embodied style and grace throughout her 85 years, both in her sophistication and elegance of presentation and in the quiet devotion she showed as a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, businesswoman, partner, and friend. Though her light has passed on from this world, the precious memory of her loving smile and warm heart will be with all of us who knew her, through our last hour.
The middle child of five and the prized only daughter of Iver and Verna Haugen, Shirley spent her childhood in Minnesota, moving west to Tacoma at age 9, where she resided for the rest of her life. She was a classic beauty from the start. Shirley was chosen 8th grade May Queen and later Homecoming Queen of Clover Park High School, from which she graduated in 1954, at age 17. While there she met an ardent and ambitious fellow student, Alfredo “Fred” Gasperetti, who would be the love of her life and to whom she was devoted until they were parted by his death in 2009. They married in March of 1955 and started a family, with Laura (Myers) arriving in December of that year, followed by Cindy (Turco) in February of 1958. She doted on her girls, fully embraced motherhood and became a fabulous gourmet cook. Possessed of an energetic character and hardy resolve, Shirley proved an ideal partner to her entrepreneurial husband, who with her help founded Gasperetti’s Distributing, Inc. Through their work and dedication, Shirley and Fred were able to grow their company from a tiny regional startup operating out of their garage to the number one wholesale gaming supply company in the state of Washington, which it remained throughout its period of operation.
The company’s prosperity yielded a pleasant life for the couple and their daughters, which afforded Shirley the ability to pursue her passions. She was a consummate interior decorator, tastefully incorporating classic design and beautiful objects into her homes. She was also a “natural greenthumb” gardener, and enthusiastically cultivated flowers and plants that filled her world with color and fragrance. She was able to travel on occasion, visiting Hawaii and Cannon Beach, Oregon regularly on vacations with the family. Her great joy was reading; she was rarely to be found without a book, particularly her cherished historical novels. But all of this was secondary to Shirley, for whom Fred, Laura and Cindy were always first. Utterly devoted to her family, Shirley was delighted to greet her grandchildren Ashley, Michael, Dominic and Antonio into the world, and was a dear and ever-present part of their lives. Among the most precious joys of her life was hosting them at her home and watching them swim in the family pool. They never failed to bring a smile to her face, or she to theirs. In time they were joined by six great-grandchildren: Andrew, Susanna, Charles, Paul, Adeline and Beatrice. She treated every one as a grace.
Shirley meant the world to us all, and though our hearts break at her loss, she leaves a legacy of love, faith, and self-sacrifice that all of us who knew her will treasure and carry forward. It is a comfort in our grieving to know that she rests with Christ her Savior, to whom she prayed so fervently all her life.