Earline Shabkie, 94, of Greenville, wife to Joseph Shabkie for over 30 years prior to divorce, passed away at her home, surrounded by her family and loved ones on June 4, 2019.
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Born in Twelve Mile, Pickens County, South Carolina. Earline was the fourth child out of six, born to Columbus and Floride Childress. She attended Pickens High School, class of 1941, and continued to organize her high school reunions until she turned 92.
One summer during her high school years, she picked blackberries, and sold them to a cannery, and made a lot of money. That was the beginning of her career with money and she has loved working and making money ever since. She was in plays in school, and was voted best looking in her 8 th grade class. She went to Mountain Grove Baptist Church every Sunday growing up.
Earline was an amazing mother to three children, Donald Shabkie of Greenville, Jean Shabkie Fessenden of New York, and Eva Shabkie Pinkley of New York. She was a grandmother, great grandmother, bookkeeper, caregiver, avid gardener, flower arranger, southern cook and baker, Sunday school teacher, amazing conversationalist, and political activist for the Democratic party.
Earline’s first job as an adult was making bandages for World War II, followed by JC Penney for twelve years.
She met the love her life, Joe Shabkie, when he was stationed in South Carolina during World War II. They married in 1944, forming the passionate union of a Lebanese immigrant and a southern belle.
They settled on Rockwood Drive, in Greenville, and later on Stonehaven Drive, in a house that Earline designed and decorated. Soon after, she gave birth to two of her children, Donald and Jean. She had a third child, Eva, later in life at age 47.
After her divorce, Earline worked as an office manager and bookkeeper, and sold World Book
Encyclopedia for years. She worked sometimes three to four jobs to make ends meet as a single mother to her third child, and singlehandedly put Eva through college by working day and night as a salesperson and caregiver. Even with this, Earline managed to cook fresh vegetables most every night and stayed up late helping Eva with homework.
Earline had dreamed of becoming a teacher throughout her active life. She loved to study and learn, and returned back to school in her late 80s, to Furman University’s Olli Program.
She never stopped discovering, learning, reading, and deepening her faith. Every decade of her life brought a new personal discovery. She became passionate about politics in her early 80s, and until a few weeks before her death, she called her children at the end of most days and gave them a run down of the day’s political news. She hated Donald Trump as much as she hated the devil.
In addition to spiritual literature, she loved reading fiction, nonfiction, and biographies. “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” was one of her lifelong favorite books, but she had recently read “Jane Eyre” and Michelle Obama’s biography. She loved to highlight passages from books and refer to them to give her days meaning and keep her mind occupied.
She passed on her love of reading to her children and everyone around her. She lived a life of strength, perseverance, humor, purpose, and devotion to God. She was constantly on the go, surrounded by throngs of friends her age and younger, all who enjoyed her magnetic personality. She was highly intelligent, loved deeply, and listened intently. She loved God, her children, her friends, and lived her life with dignity, grace, and humor. She adored flowers, birds, and all things beautiful. She is beauty to her family. She will never be forgotten and her legacy will continue in the world she made better every day she was on it.
The family wishes to thank Dora and everyone at Compassus, and Mary Arnold, who was such an amazing friend and caregiver for many years.