“It is impossible to see the angel unless you first have a notion of it.” — James Hillman
Shirley J. Moretti, loving sister, wife, aunt, cherished friend, philanthropist, and verifiable “earth angel,” passed away on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at the age of 84.
Born in Seattle, Washington on November 21, 1935 Shirley was the fourth and last child of Matt and Phyllis Dragin, a family of Croatian descent. Though Shirley lost her mother at a tender eight years of age, she was loved and raised with the help of her two sisters and a brother. She remained extremely close with each of her siblings until their passing. On November 8, 1958 Shirley married Dino Moretti from Salt Lake City, Utah, who preceded her in death in 1990. During their marriage Shirley and Dino lived in many locations across the U.S. including Anchorage, Alaska, but they eventually settled in Orange, California.
Long before the women’s movement ever demanded permission, Shirley used her immense social gifts and business acumen to build a highly successful four decades long career in the male-dominated banking industry. After she retired from Wells Fargo, Shirley then cared for her ailing husband until his death, taking every opportunity to travel and enjoy the world despite many limitations. Later, while facing her own health issues battling cancer, Shirley turned the life threatening experience into an opportunity by developing and helping to fund a breast cancer foundation in 1989: The Foundation for Advancement in Breast Care. Later, with a generous endowment from Virginia Knott Bender, the organization changed names and opened a center under the title: The Cordelia Knott Center for Wellness in Orange, California, under the Cordelia Knott Wellness Foundation. The community based non-profit provides cancer patients with support and offers educational services for the mind, body, and spirit. Shirley served as the president, a survivor, and a generous financial sponsor of the foundation, also funding The Moretti Family Resource Library once located in the original center, among other vital programs. The Cordelia Knott Fund later moved to The St. Joseph Hospital where Shirley envisioned and launched the Ginny’s Gift Shop at The Center for Cancer Prevention. The shop offers cancer patients compassionate assistance with items for recovery and treatment. She also put her generous volunteer skills and monetary contributions to work for the hospital foundation serving on the board of directors since 2012. Always the organizer, Shirley sat on the gala planning committee, and co-chaired the Innovating for a Healthier Community Comprehensive Campaign, with a goal to raise 75-million dollars by 2022. Currently the campaign has raised over 55-million dollars. Shirley is the largest donor in the history of St. Joseph Hospital Foundation.
In addition to her philanthropic work in the medical field, Shirley has given her time and money to many other organizations throughout Orange County including: The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA), Working Wardrobes of Orange County, Contacts of Orange, and KHERUT (helping survivors of human trafficking.)
On the day of her passing, a close friend remarked of Shirley, “she taught us how to live.” No six-word statement could be more appropriate. Shirley had a true zest for life and she never let one blade of manicured grass grow beneath her petite feet. She had a particular fondness in her heart for the magic kingdom, Disneyland! She absolutely never said no to a visit with out-of-town guests and friends, and was even known to “close down the park.” Passionate about food, wine, world travel, crafting, and most importantly spending time with family and friends, her loving kindness and extreme generosity was her trademark. Her sweet voice and laugh, her gentle spirit and joy for celebration were literally contagious. She taught us how to live, how to give, and most importantly — she taught us how to love.
Shirley was preceded in death by her sisters Velma and Neddie, brother Walter, her husband Dino, brothers-in-law, Berto Moretti, Tony Barrutia, Howard McKean and Jack Farrington, nieces Carla Barrutia-Keller and Jacqueline (Jackie) Foster, nephew Matt Dragin. She is survived by her sisters-in-law Ariella Moretti-Barrutia, Joy Moretti, and many nieces and nephews who all consider her to be their second mother, or “Auntie Sissy.” Shirley was extremely close to her friends Tom and Susan Debin who spent years traveling with her and enjoyed a special companionship in both health and sickness. There are countless other friends who also call Shirley “their own.” Fly high angel, we now definitely do “have a notion of it.”
Family and friends are invited to attend a Rosary prayer service for Shirley on January 16, 2020 at The San Antonio Catholic Church in Anaheim Hills at 7:00 P.M. Mass in her name will be held on January 17, 2020 at The San Antonio Church at 11:00 A.M. followed by a celebration of life reception in the parish hall: 5800 East Santa Ana Canyon Rd., Anaheim, CA. Shirley will be interred with her husband, Dino, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A special heartfelt thank you to the caring staff at St Joseph’s Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa Valley, CA, They took such amazing care of Shirley in her final days. In Shirley’s memory and the love she spread so abundantly, donations can be made in her name to the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation: 1100 W. Stewart Dr. Orange, CA 92868 To donate online: https://www.providence.org/locations/st-joseph-hospital-orange/foundation/donate