Shirley Specter Kety

January 27, 1927November 14, 2020

On November 14, 2020, Shirley Aileen Specter Kety, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away at the prodigious age of 93.

Shirley was born on January 27, 1927, in St. Joseph, MO, to Harry and Lillie (Shanin) Specter. She spent her childhood years in Wichita and Russell, KS, then moved with her parents and younger brother, Arlen to Philadelphia, PA, where she soon met and married the love of her life, her late husband, Edwin M. Kety M.D.

Shirley and Edwin raised their four children in Phoenix, AZ, where they were an integral part of the founding members of the Orthodox Jewish community and the first Orthodox Jewish Day School, the Phoenix Hebrew Academy. Shirley’s lifelong love of books led her to pursue a B.S. in Library Science at The University of Arizona. In 1973, the Kety family relocated to Elizabeth, NJ, where Shirley had an illustrious career working as a librarian for the Elizabeth Board of Education and retired from the job she loved in 1997.

Matched only by her love for books was Shirley’s passion for politics. Shirley could often be found in her kitchen listening to her favorite channel, C-SPAN, and when her younger brother Arlen was elected to the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, she was elated and followed his monumental career with devotion and pride.

Listed high among her successes will be her lasting legacy of instilling in all of her children and grandchildren a deep love for reading, respect and appreciation for the United States and a strong Jewish identity.

Shirley was preceded in death by her husband Edwin, brothers Morton and Arlen, and sister Hilda. She is survived by her four children, Suzanne and Rabbi Louis Fliegelman in Chicago, IL, Cassandra Kety in Atlanta, GA, Stewart and Gail Kety in Ra'anana, Israel, and Sara Kety in Bergen County, New Jersey; grandchildren Yael, Aliza, Ellie, Gilly, Aaron, Avi, Adam, Tobi, Zohar, Amitai, Tehila, David, and Yarden; great-grandchildren Aidan, Emily, Josh, Nadav, Ari, Emunah, Kira, Yael, and Hayley.

The funeral service will be held graveside on Monday, November 16, 2020 at 2:00 pm at the JEC Cemetery 26 Floral Avenue, Newark, NJ 07114.

You may attend the graveside service virtually by following the link below for the Livestream.


  • Graveside Service

    Monday, November 16, 2020


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Shirley Specter Kety

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Anita and David Kolat

November 16, 2020

We loved Shirley who lived two doors from us on Summit Rd, in Elizabeth, NJ for 36 years. She welcomed us to Elmora Hills with a small Kiddush for us and two other families who had recently moved to our street. Shirley was a very well informed woman who always kept herself looking beautiful. Whenever I would visit her, she loved conversations about Israel, world events and my current activities. With her Kansas drawl intact, we would often sit in her art gallery of a living room, with books and newspapers galore, where we were in later years joined by her very caring daughter Cassandra.
We will always feel a strong, sweet connection to you,Shirley. May your entire family be comforted.
With deepest sympathy,
Anita and David and family

Jenny Bublick

November 16, 2020

She was an amazing person. I will always remember her when she came to visit in Ranana Israel. Always put together. Gail and Stewart always talked about how smart she was.. Sending our condolences to all of you.. Jenny and Jordan Bublick and Family.

Maria Masciandaro

November 16, 2020

I will always remember that smile, so beautifully captured in the photo. She was truly a woman of grace, intelligence and wit. A life long learner with a deep appreciation of the complexities of life. Her love of books was unsurpassed. No doubt her family will keep her spirit alive with the many grandchildren and great grandchildren who will hear the stories.
With deepest respect,
Maria and Joe Masciandaro


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