Casali, Shirley Wood

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Shirley Wood Casali, died at home in Christiansburg, VA, on November 16, 2015. She was born June 2, 1923 in Kimball, WV, to Blanche Roberson Wood and Amos R. Wood. While growing up in Kimball, she was very active in the Houston United Methodist Church, playing piano and assisting with youth ministries.

After graduating from Welch High School she attended Concord College in Athens, WV, where she was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. During World War II, after her brother Lt. j.g. Gordon Wood lost his life as a pilot of a Martin PBM while sinking an enemy U-boat, Shirley returned home from college to care for her grieving parents. A few years later, Shirley attended the Barbizon Finishing School in New York City, graduating in 1945. Thereafter, she did fashion and photographic modeling, working with Harold Russell, a World War II hero and Academy Award actor, in promoting the sale of U.S. War Bonds. She returned home to WV and married John Tony Casali on September 6, 1947.

casali_shirley_wood1Shirley and Tony happily lived in Welch, WV, where she was active as President of the Junior Woman’s Club, member of the Wood-Venable VFW Post Auxiliary, and coordinator of the Bloodmobile. In 1955 Shirley and Tony had their only child, a son John Gordon. They moved to Princeton, WV in 1961, where Shirley was active for 34 years in the First United Methodist Church. She taught Sunday School with her husband and served as a District Officer of Women’s Circle work for which she received lifetime membership status. She also was on the Board of Directors of the Beckley Child Care Center, member of the Periwinkle Garden Club and the Glenwood Park Methodist Home Auxiliary, and advisor to the Junior High Girl’s Club.

In 1995 Shirley and Tony moved to Blacksburg, VA, where they attended the Blacksburg United Methodist Church. After Tony’s passing in 1999, Shirley lived with son John Gordon, whom she affectionately called “Jongee,” and they resided in Christiansburg, VA with Shirley’s cat “Precious.” Shirley was friends with many people, young and old, and she was known for her style, grace, and compassion. She enjoyed playing the piano and organ at home or church functions. Her talents are also forever evident in the wonderful oil and water color paintings that she created. She was a dedicated caregiver to her parents as they became elderly, and a dear Mother and role model to her son, John Gordon. Over the last few years, she and her son enjoyed trips in their small RV, as well as going to their cabin and farm on Claytor Lake. He is deeply thankful for the wonderful times that they spent together, and the love that existed between them.

Shirley is survived by her son, Dr. John Gordon Casali of Christiansburg, VA. Heartfelt gratitude is expressed to Shirley’s in-home caregivers, Kathy Bailey, Jane Rivers, and Jean Cox, her physical therapist, Lisa Jones, and a special friend, Lois Chambers.

Flowers are appreciated, or in lieu, contributions may be made in Shirley’s memory for assistance to underprivileged children or to the First United Methodist Church, 100 Center St., Princeton, WV, 24740.

Visitation and funeral arrangements by Horne Funeral Home, Christiansburg, VA will be available at 540-382-2612 or at, where online condolences may also be left.