My grandfather, Julius, would call Erin and Jessica, Shana’s sisters, shayna madelahs’. That means “Beautiful Child” in Yiddish. We thought that would be an appropriate name for our third child born November 11, 1981 at Elizabeth General Hospital in Elizabeth, NJ. Shana was born at dinner time, thus justifying her love for food………….. Shana truly grew into her name. Erin and Jess used to remark, after looking at family photos, that Shana never had an awkward stage – she was always beautiful.
Shana lived the first 4 years of her life in Maplewood, NJ. Our family moved to Medford in 1985 beginning Shana’s life of Stepping Stones, onto Allen School with endless MYAA practices of T-Ball, softball, basketball, and finally cheerleading. She was also able to fit some gymnastics and a few years of ballet into her schedule. Cheerleading became Shana’s passion; she loved it. Onto Memorial School where lasting friendships began, and the heartbreak and disappointments of those teenage years.
As Shana entered Shawnee High School we shared the crushing blow of not making the cheerleading squad. There were more tears shed, but I know that this incident helped to form Shana into a more compassionate person. During her formative years, Shana was involved with our church, Lakes Community Chapel, learning her bible verses in Sunday School, years of Awana’s youth group, and the many people in the church who influenced Shana’s life. Shane loved babysitting the children in the church and she prided herself on taking them for walks, playing and reading to them and not just “sitting.”
Shana’s first “real job” was working as a lifeguard at Camp Hallawasa. Shana’s walk with God became closer in that summer of 1998. Friendships continued even when we moved to North Carolina in August of ’98. Shana loved the ocean, and was really beginning to make friends on the Outer Banks. But her only regret for the move, besides the lack of shopping, was missing her Medford Friends. Especially Angela, who she considered her “other sister.”
Junior Year on the Outer Banks attending Manteo High School. A whole new culture. Shana decided she would never get the “ya’ll” thing going. Friendships were difficult to make as the new kid in town, but slowly Shana found some wonderful friends. She worked as a lifeguard for the YMCA eventually working and obtaining her instructor’s certification. While life guarding she decided joining the track team would be a move in the right direction. A good way to make friends and get into shape. It worked; she found many friends and felt good about herself.
Shana’s life was full of love and smiles. As a family we are very close. The last 8 months on the Outer Banks drew Shana even closer to her sisters. A trip to Europe was planned for the summer of ’99. Five weeks touring with her sisters. She was so excited……………. Shana was anticipating a summer of bonding between the three sisters and having some of the best memories of their lives. It was all she talked about.
Shana’s favorite things: sister Hugs, good-smelling shampoo, Angela, fun underwear, Megan, Claussen Pickles, Tori Amos, French Connection Clothes, Amanda, swing dancing, Mike, taking pictures, Holly, eating yummy food, attempting to learn how to surf with her sisters, everything Pooh Bear, late night bonding with Erin and Jess at the Medport Diner drinking coffee and eating corn muffins, singing……….., singing……….., singing………………
The dreams of Shana Marisa Lawler were changed forever on April 6, 1999. A drunk driver took the life of our Shana.