Sheila Irene Raff
April 11, 1954 – September 3, 2020
Sheila Irene Raff, 66, died peacefully Thursday, September 3rd, surrounded by her husband and their six daughters.
Sheila was born in New Jersey to Bob and Phyllis Droney. She spent her childhood in Ramsey, New Jersey, and Williamsburg, Virginia, and later earned a degree in nursing from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1975, she married James Raff, and in their wedding bands they had engraved what they considered the foundation of their successful marriage, John 15:12. Soon, they started a family and would have six daughters in ten years. She called her daughters her “jewels” and delighted in being a wife, mother, and homemaker.
In 1991, Sheila and James moved their family to Greenville, SC, and have lived there since. For years, she was a member of Fair Heights Baptist Church and in the recent past attended North Hills Community Church.
Sheila reveled in being “Lolly” to her nine grandchildren. She had a rare ability to enter each child’s world, and she effortlessly engaged in playing, pretending, reading, and talking with them. She enjoyed corresponding with friends and relatives near and far and loved mailing thoughtful packages and letters to people she cared about. She had a talent for finding and creating beauty in unexpected places and took time to marvel at the wonders of creation. She loved listening to music, having tea parties, swimming in the ocean, getting together with her many dear friends, going on trips with James, and beautifully arranging flowers. She spent her life pursuing what really matters: relationships with people and with God, and her faith in Him sustained her, even through times of intense personal loss and suffering. She was constantly encouraging others with Bible verses and hymns and pointing them to the love and life she had found in Christ.
We will miss her voice, her handwritten notes, the way she stroked our backs during prayer, her mischievous sense of humor, her brilliant smile and unmistakable laugh, her tea parties, and her countless thoughtful gestures of love to us over her lifetime.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” -John 15:12
Sheila is survived by her husband, James Raff, of Greenville; daughter and son-in-law Anna and Jason Mayberry of Powdersville; daughter Jennie Raff of Washington, DC; daughter and son-in- law Jessica and Joel Koontz of Greenville; daughter Cate Raff of Santa Fe, NM; daughter and son-in-law Leah Raff and Javier Perez of Alexandria, VA; daughter Alice Raff of San Luis Obispo, CA; sister and brother-in-law, Tricia Droney and Doug Johnson of Hudson, MA; brother and sister-in-law John Droney and Colleen Lucas of Weston, MA; brother and sister-in-law Bob and Colleen Droney of Floyd, VA; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Leila and Bill Boyer of Dunkirk, MD; aunt Joyce Granfors of Garfield Heights, OH; uncle and aunt Pat and Bonnie McNulty of Jacksonville, FL; uncle Ed McNulty of Parma, OH; step-son and daughter-in-law Tom and Jen Raff of Leola, PA; step-son Robert Raff of St. Petersburg, FL; nieces Marley Oakes, Sarah Oakes, Kayla Droney, Irene Droney; grandchildren Jeremy (Elizabeth) Raff, Susannah Raff, Olivia Raff, Natalie Raff, Henry Mayberry, Claire Koontz, Emmett Koontz, James Mayberry, and Delia Koontz; and great-grandson, Owen Raff.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines limiting large gatherings, the family will hold a private burial, and a memorial service will be planned at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to an organization Sheila cared about: Food for the Hungry (fh.org) or Heifer International (www.heifer.org).
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Sheila Irene Raff
September 18, 2020
Our family was so saddened to hear of Sheila’s passing! What a beautiful and wonderful mother she was. We knew Sheila through 3 of her 6 beautiful daughters - going to school together and being great friends. She took time out of her busy schedule to welcome spend the night friends. Such a kind person!
We share in your grief but not without hope.
Love and prayers,
September 14, 2020
I am honored to have known Sheila as a dear, beloved friend. She will be forever in my heart. Her greatest loves were her Lord and Savior, her treasure of a family, and then her friends. Sheila was one of the most thoughtful persons I have ever known. She had the gift of giving. It was important that she give just the right gift. I was the recipient of thoughtful gifts in the mail. I might receive a package of little gifts such as a special napkin, tea bag, travel brochures that she thought I might like. We loved many of the same things, especially tea parties! I always looked forward to her lovely tea parties that she would host at her home usually around Valentine's Day. She would have a very special cake ordered. Also we ended with a devotional as it was important for her that we end our time of fellowship thinking on the Lord.
We both shared April birthdays, so we tried most years to go out to a special place to celebrate. I will surely miss those times we had together. Her latest gift to me arrived last month. It was a journal of handwritten Scripture verse and hymns that she loved. I was so blessed to have received this. It will always be a treasure to me.
Sheila often spoke of her beloved daughters. They were each so very special to her. Her eyes would just light up with a sparkle as she spoke of her family.
James, may you and your daughters and all the family take much comfort in all the special memories that you shared together. I will miss my dear friend, but I know I will see her again. Sending my love and prayers to each of you.
September 12, 2020
Cate and family, so sorry to hear about your Mom's passing. I was blessed to have met her and your Dad and several of your sisters. Your Mom was the greatest. May God's peace be with you all. Just talked to Elizabeth today. I know she loved your Mom too.
September 12, 2020
James, Anna, Jennie, Jessica, Cate, Leah and Alice,
I was so saddened to hear about Sheila and am thinking about you all today. When I think of her, I remember her beautiful smile and sparkle in her eyes. She was always so joyful to be around the times that we did get together as cousins.
I am so grateful for the little gifts that would arrive when my 3 children were little, always with inspirational letters. She was so thoughtful!
May the wonderful memories that you have of her help comfort you during this time.
Julie Granfors Kiefer (and Family)
September 10, 2020
Sheila was truly a treasure! I love the precious memories with my dear friend, Sheila.....memories of beach trips together, tea parties at her house with a beautiful unique tea cup for each friend present, back yard parties with our families, sweet quiet talks....all dear to my heart! The picture in my mind of Sheila is likened to a garden... because she herself noticed and loved even the tiniest of beauties... a beautiful flower, .. an autumn leaf, a lovely napkin, a sea shell, a post card with a kind note, an encouraging Scripture, beautiful music........ Sheila was the fragrance in her own lovely Garden she produced, a sweet smelling aroma of love! I love you Sheila and I look forward to being with you again in the Beautiful Garden of Heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ , Our Savior, Who loves us and gave His life for an atoning sacrifice for all who will receive Him! Your friend, Angie Gould
September 10, 2020
I can’t believe my dear friend is gone. She was kind to reach out to me and my youngest daughter, Heidi, whose 2 big sisters left home when she was very young. We were both a bit sad. Sheila blessed us with day trips, notes, birthday cards, gifts, unexpected visits, tea parties, and more. We stopped by to visit her and bring her one of our “stay well” baskets in the spring. She was gracious and beaming with joy to welcome us. We refrained from hugs and kept our masks on at first. I am just thanking the Lord that I got to see her one more time! Wish I could have given her one last hug. I had no idea we were saying goodbye too. Earth is lonelier, heaven more near and dear with Sheila gone. She was a true gift from God to me. We met because our daughters, Cate and Heather were good friends. Thanks, to you too, dear daughters!!
September 8, 2020
Tiffani and I are praying for you. May Our Heavenly Father give you strength and peace. James, you and Sheila made a tremendous impact on our lives and our ministry. We are honored and blessed for your fellowship, mentoring but most importantly - your friendship.