Obituary: Shirley Mirvis Borenstein

Obituary: Shirley Mirvis Borenstein

Shirley Minna Blonstein Mirvis Borenstein died peacefully in her sleep at 101 on Aug. 30.

Shirley Minna Blonstein Mirvis Borenstein died peacefully in her sleep at 101 on Aug. 30. She lived a full life, marked by professional and civic accomplishments and children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Shirley was an eternal optimist who always claimed to have been born under a lucky star and who saw the world through rose-colored glasses. Even the deaths of two husbands, and the fact that she was born in a pandemic and died in a pandemic, could not deter her positive outlook.

Born on Apr. 25, 1920, in Bayonne, New Jersey, Shirley’s family moved to Jacksonville, Fla. and then to Atlanta, where she attended Girls High. She attended the University of Georgia and graduated from Temple University, where she was a pioneer in the emerging field of Medical Technology. In her early career, she did medical research at Columbia University Hospital in New York and at Fort McPherson during World War II. Once her three sons were all in school, she went to work for Dr. Nanette Wenger, doing cardiac research at Grady Hospital. She loved that job for 25 years, and she and Nanette remained best friends for life.

In the 1980s, Emory University had a mandatory retirement age of 65. Shirley would have loved to keep working but couldn’t. Instead, when two of her grandchildren were diagnosed with Type I Diabetes, she launched herself into diabetes research and activities with the Georgia Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. JDRF stayed her number one passion until her death. For her birthdays, the only gift she ever requested was a contribution to JDRF. For her 100th birthday, JDRF gave her an award at their annual gala for “over 35 years of exceptional service.” In her 90s, Atlanta Magazine recognized Shirley in their “Women Making a Mark” issue for her tireless work with JDRF.

In 1945, Shirley married Stanley Mirvis, originally from Baltimore and New York, before becoming an Atlantan. Together, they raised three sons, Bruce, Kenny, and Joe. She loved her role as a mother, including being a den mother and class mother for her boys’ classes at Morningside Elementary. She also loved being the wife of an Atlanta businessman, as Mirvis and Fox, a textile wholesaler, thrived. She and Stan loved opera, symphony, baseball, travel, and their beloved investment club, a group of best friends who met monthly for over 50 years. Her heart broke when Stan died at the young age of 63 in 1979.

In 1982, Shirley remarried Herman Borenstein, who had emigrated from Germany and lived in Atlanta for most of his adult life. Their lives were filled with classical music, bridge, and of course, the beloved investment club. Before becoming a widower, Herman had three children, Pepi, Linda, and David. From the moment Shirley married Herman, she no longer had three children; she had six. She never used the terms “in-law” or “step.” All of the children and their spouses were her children, and the grandchildren were her grandchildren. She amassed a family of 11 children, 24 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren. She loved every one of them with her full heart. She also loved her almost 80 years as an active member of The Temple community.

Shirley is survived by Bruce and Whitney Mirvis of Columbus, Ohio, Kenneth Mirvis and Rebecca Rowley of Grand Isle, Vermont, Joseph Mirvis of Florence, Oregon, Pepi and Alan Wolkin of Atlanta, Linda and Kerry Landis of Atlanta, and David and Julie Borenstein of Atlanta.

A funeral service was held at Crestlawn Cemetery on Friday, Sept. 3. In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial contribution in Shirley’s name to the Georgia Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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