Laurie woman loved church, volunteering

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | 6:27 p.m. CDT; updated 11:53 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shirley Elizabeth Soricelli, formerly of Columbia, died Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007, at the Laurie Care Center in Laurie. She was 83.

She was born Jan. 8, 1924, in Manchester, Conn., to Edward Fahey Jr. and Hazel Elizabeth Brown Fahey. She graduated from Manchester High School.

In 1944, she married Russell Mac Smith of Columbia. The couple had three children.

Mrs. Soricelli volunteered throughout her life.

After moving to Columbia from Connecticut in 1955, Mrs. Soricelli took on the role of neighborhood chairperson for the local American Cancer Society and later became Columbia residential chairperson. After volunteering for years, she eventually began working for the cancer society, where she helped institute the first “Reach to Recovery” and Breast Cancer Awareness programs.

While living in Columbia she was also a founding member of the Broadway Christian Church and a member of the Mother Singers choral group, the Wednesday Wives social organization and a Brownie and Girl Scout troop leader.

She later moved to Sunrise Beach, where she volunteered as the American Cancer Society Camden County education chairperson for two years and then became president.

In 1963, she married Carmine Soricelli.

After retiring in 1979, Mrs. Soricelli stayed active by joining the American Business Women’s Association, which honored her as Woman of the Year in 1985.

Mrs. Soricelli was also a founding member of the West Lake Christian Church. Rev. Jim Sutherlin remembers her as loving music and caring about others.

When the church first opened, she voluntered in the office and acted as the first secretary.

“She loved to say that she ran the church so the pastor could do ministry,” Sutherlin said.

Mrs. Soricelli underwent treatment for cancer and organized a cancer support group that meets regularly at West Lake Christian Church.

Sutherlin visted her at the nursing home while she was battling cancer and after a quick update on herself, Mrs. Soricelli would ask about the other members of the church.

“She never dwelled on herself,” Sutherlin said.

Mrs. Soricelli is survived by her husband; two daughters, Linda Canestraight of Columbia, and Laura Muir of Kansas City; one son, Ron Smith of Tampa, Fla.; a cousin, Marilyn LaChat of Enfield, Conn.; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at West Lake Christian Church, 936 Hwy. O in Laurie. A reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to West Lake Christian Church, Missouri River Hospice and the American Cancer Society.

Condolences can be sent to the family at

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