Shelbia Cecille Cilveti (Cecille) was born July 24, 1937 in Oregon County, Missouri to Wilson Curtis Elliott and Joreita Davis. She passed away on February 13, 2018 from complications of dementia and cancer. Throughout her life and in all circumstances, she maintained her goodness, grateful spirit and optimism. This was reflected in the only two words that remained in her vocabulary at the end of her life; they were "Thank you" and "Good." She was beloved by all who knew her. A popular and accomplished student, she was voted homecoming queen and was salutatorian of her high school class. She graduated from Southwest Missouri State University in three years with a double major in Theater and English. After graduating, she lived in Miami, Florida where she taught high school, and then New York City before settling in Chapel Hill. In Chapel Hill she taught kindergarten and pre-school before becoming a computer programmer and working at Research Triangle Institute and Blue Cross Blue Shield. She was beloved by her students, and by her coworkers with whom she stayed in contact with after her retirement.
She was engaged with and devoted to her grandchildren in all stages of their lives. She traveled to California twice a year to see two of her grandchildren, always arriving with a suitcase full of gifts. She would sit on the floor for hours playing board games or engaging in endless rounds of hide and go seek. She cared for her son Greg’s son when he was a baby, and later was a tireless chauffeur for his children. She attended special events and made sure to take her grandson for frozen yogurt at least once a week. Paula’s children remember how she used to pick them up from school, always with a stash of butterscotch candies and Veggie Tales playing in the car. She loved to read to her grandchildren and had infinite patience when playing with them.
She had a profound love for the beauty of nature, always commenting on the sky, the trees and the flowers. She was never in a hurry with her family, or when taking in the beauty around her. She loved reading and looking for "treasures" in second hand and antique stores. She loved finding just the right greeting card to send for every occasion and could spend hours in the greeting card section of a store reading every card. She was guided by her Christian faith, and was an active member in her church and belonged to Christian organizations in college and bible study groups throughout her life. She always reached out to those in need, and taught her children the importance of being kind. She showed incredible grace, even while struggling with dementia, remaining affectionate and loving to her caregivers and family. Cecille was a warm and infinitely special member of her family and community and will be profoundly missed.
She is survived by her husband Angel Cilveti, her children Jill DePass and husband Linval DePass, Greg Stafford and wife Paula Brown Stafford, Paula Jo Butler and husband Erik Butler, and her 8 grandchildren Michael Anthony Depass, Lauren Elizabeth Depass, Celia Alton Stafford, Jackson Paul Stafford, Anna Marie Butler, Caroline Elliott Butler, Matteus Christian Butler and Nicholas James Butler. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Durham Rescue Mission P.O. Box 11368 Durham, NC 27703.
A Memorial Service will be held on March 3, 2018 at 2pm at Binkley Baptist Church, Chapel Hill NC.
Arrangements by Donaldson Funeral Home & Cremation
Donaldson Funeral Home & Cremation is honored to serve the Cilveti family.