Maria Frances Shippani passed away on Sunday, August 4, 2019 in Crozer Hospital, Chester. A resident of Swedesboro, NJ, she was a daughter of the late William F. (Bill) Shippani & Grace R. Iandolo Shippani of Rose Valley. Maria was born December 21, 1942, in Springhaven, Delaware Co., & lived in the area for many years before moving to Swedesboro in the early 1980’s. She was a 1960 graduate of Nether Providence High School, Wallingford, & Penn State University, earning a B.S. in Home Economics in 1964. Later in life she became certified as an Environmental Steward through Rutgers University Continuing Education program. She taught Home Economics for many years in the Chester School District, retiring in 1997. When at Penn State, Maria was a member of the University Choir, & later especially enjoyed singing hymns in harmony in church. She taught herself how to play the guitar and how to paint, and received local honors for her paintings, & her charcoal, pen & ink works. A skilled seamstress, she created many of her own garments and did fine needlework, which family members were fortunate to receive as presents. She was an avid gardener, and often started plants from her own saved seeds. She was a great cook, using many of her organically grown vegetables. Maria loved her Swedesboro home on the Racoon Creek with it’s beautiful unspoiled water view & the creatures that lived there. She would often take her kayak into that tidal creek and spot Bald Eagles. She also loved her summer beach cottage in North Wildwood that her parents built in the early 1950’s. She particularly loved to fish and swim in the ocean. She was a volunteer at the Wetlands Institute, Stone Harbor, NJ; The Historical Museum of Cape May County; and helped with a program restoring native oysters into the Delaware Bay. Maria was a true environmentalist and cared deeply for the earth and it’s creatures, great & small, and especially for cats in need of a home. An interesting article featuring Maria at the shore was in a local newspaper :
She is survived by her sister, Gloria S. Smith (R. Scott), Holtwood; nieces, Rebecca Smith (Drew Matus), Westfield, NJ; Leah Smith, Nashville, TN; Amanda Smith, Media; Laura Denker (Matthew), Media; a nephew, R. Scott Smith, 3rd, Philadelphia, & five great nieces & nephews.
A Memorial Service was held on August 9 in Swedesboro’s Trinity Episcopal Old Swedes Church, followed by interment in SS Peter & Paul Cemetery, Springfield. Contributions in Maria’s memory may be made to the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge or The Historical Museum of Cape May County.