Obituaries: Mary Shields, Longtime HBW Teacher


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Once upon a time, the girls at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School could not take woodshop or tech ed classes. For us, it was home economics and that meant we all had Mrs. Shields. This was also back in the day before celebrity chefs, the Food Network and “Every Day With Rachel Ray” magazine, so we learned the basics. We learned to measure and sift, scoop and fold, and bake the perfect crumb cake.

Mary Cecilia Ferguson Shields died on April 17 in Pennsylvania. She was 101 and her obituary in the Star Ledger notes that the seven children she raised in Verona had given her 19 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. There will be a memorial mass for Mrs. Shields at Our Lady of the Lake Church at 10 a.m. this Saturday, April 24.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


  1. I remember that one day, I had to choose between letting the apple pie our group had in the oven burn to a crisp or leave home ec class to get changed on time for PE class. Hmm, disappoint Mrs. Shields or Mrs. Roberts? As I recall, I saved the pie – and cleaned up the mess our group left in the sink. I think Mrs. Shields wrote me a late pass to gym class.

    Meg Foster Slotkin

  2. I remember how kind she was when we had to make “dirndle” skirts with elastic all around the waist – well it took me more than several tries and she finally gave in and finished it for me. To this day tape and staples are my “mainstay” for sewing. RIP Mrs. Shields.


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