Joan Shirley Hornung

April 21, 1923 ~ September 20, 2021 (age 98)




Manchester,  Vermont

Joan Shirley (Fitzsimmons)  Hornung  passed away at 98 years young at the Equinox Terrace in Manchester,  VT under the care of many loving caregivers  & Terrace staff. She was pre-deceased  by her husband,  Leo Paul Hornung  in 2006 who was the absolute  love of her life for 60 years. Shirley was also pre-deceased  by her two loving sisters  & their husbands  -Marilyn  & Walter Moffatt;  Janet & James Traub as well as her husband Paul's siblings  & spouses - Gerald & Audrey Hornung; Joanne (Hornung) Repettil  Lynch; Thomas & Delores Hornung  & Richard Cornelius.  Over the years Shirley also lost many very close cousins  & friends  whom  she loved dearly & missed immensely. Thereafter, she was the matriarch  of the Fitzsimmons  Family for many years.

Shirley was born and grew up in Sheepshead  Bay & Marine Park in Brooklyn,  NY. The daughter  of the late Kathleen  (O'Leary) & James Fitzsimmons;  & granddaughter   of late Jennie (Nana) & James (Sunny Jim) Fitzsimmons.  Shirley lived a remarkable  childhood  as the granddaughter   of Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons  & daughter  of James Fitzsimmons.  Sunny Jim was a famous  thoroughbred   horse trainer  for several well-known   & affluent families and stables.  In addition  to winning  two triple  Crowns, Sunny Jim won numerous Kentucky  Derby's; Preakness;   Belmont  stakes, Saratoga & other well known  races throughout  his career.

As a child, Shirley traveled  with  her grandparents  to Miami during  the race season in the 1920's, & then summered  with them in Saratoga,  NY during  race season in the 1930's. Thoroughbred  racing was an elite sport then, so Shirley kept company  with  many famous American  & European families.  She attended  many celebrations  for her grandfather including parties at the Waldorf Astoria,  Belmont  Racetrack,  Monmouth  Park Racetrack, Saratoga  Racetrack  as well as many other venues. Throughout  her teens and adulthood Shirley continued  to summer  at the Fitzsimmons  Family Compound  on Lake Desolation in Middle Grove, NY - just  outside  Saratoga. A tradition  she kept with  her own children throughout their  childhood  years & her children  continue  to visit Saratoga with their Fitzsimmons  cousins.

Joan Shirley married  Leo Paul in 1946 just after he returned  from  military  service  in WWII with exceptional  honors & medals while he served in the European Theater of operations under General Patton. They had an exceptional  love affair throughout  their 60 years of marriage. They had four children  all born in Marine Park & Sheepshead  Bay, Brooklyn  & then moved the family to Long Island in 1959. Once her children  were in school,  Shirley secured a job with Pilgrim  NYS Mental Hospital  where she worked  for 20 years as an Occupational Therapist.  In her position,  she was assigned to bringing  van loads of patients  outside  the hospital  confines  to teach them how to shop, how to dine out and other skills to acclimate them to eventual discharge  into the world  outside  of their hospital  environment.  Shirley's compassion  & empathy for people made this a very rewarding  experience  for her. She raised her four children  with these same attributes  as well as her strong  example  of independence,  strength,  perseverance  and resilience.  Her children  all benefited  greatly from Shirley's example and traits  as a human being.

Traveling was always an intricate  part of Shirley's life. She and Paul took the family  on trips throughout  their children's  youth. Most were always educational  -primarily  around American History. They were proud Americans  & wanted  their children  to understand, appreciate  & honor the sacrifices  so many Americans  made to allow us to live in Freedom & Independence. Early on they would take their family  in a big canvas tent to all areas of the US Eastern Seaboard & inward. Eventually they graduated  to a small trailer, then a larger trailer. Once their children  were independent  & they were retired, Joan Shirley and Leo Paul traveled  extensively  throughout  the world  - from the Caribbean, South America,  UK, Europe, Russia & the Middle East. Between these international   trips, they would travel in their RV throughout   North America,  for months  at a time, as true explorers  of the Continent.

When Shirley's Fitzsimmons  clan got together,  it was an all out talking  competition! Shirley  would  be right in the middle of it. Four people would  be talking  at one time and they all knew what the other was saying. It's a Fitzsimmons  trait to this day. Shirley was a beautiful,  loving woman  in both appearance  and spirit.  She was truly a genuine person who had empathy  & understanding  for all. An unbelievable  woman who carried  herself naturally  with such dignity  & grace that her presence was felt whenever  she entered a room. Shirley was admired  & loved by all people who knew or met her. Shirley never uttered  a bad word about anyone. She loved going to the theater  - Broadway  & summer stock  in Vermont. She loved the arts, craft fairs, festivals  & exploring.  She loved to dance & sing & was frequently  the life of the party at weddings  & celebrations.  She enjoyed life and people to the fullest  and considered every day a blessing.  She had a remarkable  soul & spirit.

Shirley & Paul moved to Clearwater,  Florida in their early 8O's to begin the next chapter on their lives. They enjoyed the warm weather  & traveled  throughout  the state. After Leo Paul passed  away in 2006, the void in her life could  never be filled  but she continued  to persevere & traveled  with her children  to numerous  places including  Vermont & New York to spend time with her children  & grandchildren.   In 2010 she moved to Manchester, Vermont permanently  to be close to her daughter  & children  in NY.

Shirley is survived  by her loving children,  Terri & Sal Bertolini  of Wappingers  Falls, NY; Leo & Janet Hornung of Centereach,  NY; Bryan & Judy Hornung  of Southampton,  NY; & Patricia Gagnon of Londonderry,  VT. She is also survived  by her seven grandchildren, John Paul Bertolini  (Beverly); Jacquelyn  Wrightson  (Gregory); Jeffrey  Hornung  (Lauren); Jason Hornung  (Elizabeth); Justin  Hornung  (Lorell); Christopher  Hornung  (Amie) & Richard Gagnon Jr (Aimee). Also her eight great grandchildren,  Jackson  Bertolini; Reagan Bertolinij  Matt Wrightson;  Will Wrightsonj  Luke Wrightson;  Madison  Hornung; Sophia Hornung  & Oscar Hornung.  Shirley also leaves behind many nieces, nephews  & cousins  whom  she loved dearly as well as sister-in-law   Marion  (Hornung) Cornelius-Oxer (Russ).

Shirley's Memorial  Services will be held on Friday, October  29, 2021. Beginning  at 8:30am at Alexander-Rothwell   Funeral Home in Wading River, NY; followed  by a Mass of Christian Burial at Saint John The Baptist  Catholic  Church; & Internment  at Calverton  National Cemetery.  In Memory donations  can be made to The Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation,  New York, NY (Charity Navigator's  highest  rating for Alzheimer's Research) https:/Iwww.alzinfo.orgldonate.

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Memorial Visitation
October 29, 2021

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Alexander-Rothwell Funeral Home
6447 Route 25A
Wading River, NY 11792

Memorial Mass
October 29, 2021

11:00 AM
St. John the Baptist Church
1488 N Country Rd
Wading River, NY 11792

Burial of Cremains
October 29, 2021

12:00 PM
Calverton National Cemetery
210 Princeton Blvd
Calverton, NY 11933

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