Shelby Jean Pera
April 17, 1939 – June 6, 2019
Shelby J. Pera died peacefully at home on June 6, 2019. She was the fond cousin of Mary Ann Fathauer of Fairbanks, AK, and David (Connie) Neesan of Chicago, cherished step-mother of Lou Gonzalez, and the aunt of Jim Pera . She is preceded in death by her parents Jotham and Lampeda Pera , her brothers Al Pera and John Pera, nephew Steve Pera, and her loving companion of 40 years Sal Galloni. She was cared for by her step-son Lou Gonzalez and his wife Nancy, her neighbor Esther Park, and Journey Care Hospice. Her funeral will take place at the Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church in June - date to be announced shortly. Shelby was a lifelong Chicagoan, graduating from Waller (now Lincoln Park) High School and Roosevelt University with a degree in music. She sang in the choir as a child and young adult, and then played the organ at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church from 1968 to 1982. As a music lover she had season tickets to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for decades and was a regular at the Grant Park Concerts every summer. She taught dozens of Chicagoans to play the piano. Every Advent Shelby would organize a band of her friends to do the "Sing Along Messiah," first at the Lyric Opera House, then at the Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church. Shelby was the Training and Financial Administrator of the Midwest Academy for thirty years, retiring in 2010. Jackie Kendall, former Executive Director of the Academy said " For Shelby it was always more than a job; it was a way to live her values and work for a more just society. Shelby worked with the board and staff to build the Midwest Academy into a national training institute for progressive organizers. We were partners for thirty years …. I will miss her.” Heather Booth, Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Midwest Academy said, "Shelby was a caring and generous person who lived her values. While she had been an administrator for the Lincoln Park Presbyterian church, she connected with Midwest Academy, a training center for social change organizers that worked in the church basement. She joined the Academy staff and provided a steady administrative hand with thoroughness and ethical standards. She helped to make the Academy a renowned social change training center that was sustainable with national impact. She loved the Academy and the staff loved and depended on her. Shelby was humble and unassuming. For her it was always about getting the job done and not about her own promotion. She was valued and made a great contribution. We will all miss her. " Shelby and her brothers John and Al were lifelong Chicago Cubs fans and season ticket holders for more than 35 years. Seeing the Cubs win the 2016 World Series was the best moment of her life. She attended the annual Cubs Convention every winter with neighboring season ticket holders Kazimir Ignarski and Walter Stasioski. Kasey Ignarski, author of Cubs by the Numbers, considered Shelby part of his "Cubs Family." There will be a private burial in the Pera family plot at Elmwood Cemetery in River Grove, IL. Gifts in Shelby's memory may be sent to The Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church Organ Fund https://www.lppchurch.org/ or the Midwest Academy https://www.midwestacademy.com .
Photo credit: Kim Simmons
- Celebration of Life Sunday, June 16, 2019