Today is our beloved Shirley Grauel’s last official day as The Observer office manager. You make a lot of friends working in the same place for 30 years, and when I asked former staff members to share their memories for a special column to commemorate Shirley’s years at The Observer, I received an overwhelming response. All of those who e-mailed me shared the same message: Shirley is generous, kind, loving and a second mother to all who have had the honor of working with her.
David Dziedzic, Editor-in-Chief, 1983-84
It was a tremendous comfort knowing that she would be there, every day, taking care of everything. And the one semester that she wasn’t there (Craig took a job assignment in San Diego and the family went with him),was the worst semester of my four years. Personally, I don’t know what I would have done without her. She was like a “guardian mother” placed on campus to keep me straight and focused.
Michael Ortman, staff member, 1978-82
I’ve stayed in touch with Shirley over the years. In the fall of 2006, my then-20-year-old son Patrick had applied to transfer to Notre Dame. I made sure we stopped by The Observer so he could meet Shirley. I told him since mom would not be moving with him to South Bend, that if he ever needed a mom, whether he worked at The Observer or not, Shirley was it.
Patrick Peters, Ad Sales/Operations, 1999-2002
Over the years I spent with Shirley, I learned patience, understanding, the art of listening and how to look at issues from another perspective. As we would work with Shirley in close proximity, often we’d discuss the news of the day. Shirley’s take was always genuine, compassionate, caring and open to other ideas. I miss Shirley all the time. She’s truly one-of-a-kind and deserving of all of the accolades she will receive as she heads towards retirement.
John Lucas, Editor-in-Chief, 1995-96
Shirley blended being a top-notch office manager with roles as our counselor, confidant and second mother. Everyone who knows here feels exactly the same way. The office will never be the same without her — we wish her all of the best with Craig in retirement.
Chris Hine, Editor-in-Chief, 2008-09
If I ever had a question about how to handle a certain situation, she was always the first person I called. Everybody has their favorite Shirley moments. Whenever I talk with fellow Observer alums, we always share our favorite memories of Shirley. She is so beloved and deservedly so. She was there to comfort you and make you laugh on your worst days on the job, there to celebrate on your best days.
Mike Gilloon, Editor-in-Chief, 2006-07
Shirley was a constant presence for so many students. No matter what else was going on at the time, we knew that Shirley would have chocolate at her desk and the Price is Right on TV. She treated all of us like her own kids. She will be missed.
These are just six of the dozens of Observer staffers who wrote to me about Shirley. I’m sure she’ll get lots of flowers, hugs and phone calls today. I agree with all the staffers that wrote to me for this piece: Shirley, you truly are one of the best people I have ever met, and I would not have been able to get through my time at The Observer without you. I only hope that the person who takes over your position will have as many wonderful memories as you do.
So, from all of us, have a happy retirement, Shirley. You deserve it after 30 years. Know that everyone you have ever worked with loves you and thanks you for everything you’ve done.