Shelley Balonick Davis, beloved wife, mother, grandma, friend, teacher, therapist, and genealogist, passed away peacefully during the early hours of the morning on Saturday, April 21. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Harvey Davis, her sons Marc Davis and Gregg Davis, her daughter-in-law Beth Davis, her sister-in-law Roberta Balonick, and her grandchildren Maya Buffett-Davis, Zevadiah Buffett-Davis, Arielle Davis, and Cody Davis.
Shelley was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 24, 1936 to her parents, Samuel and Helene Balonick. Five years later, her brother Arnold Balonick, was born. After World War II, her family moved from Chicago to Los Angeles, California. Shelley loved horseback riding in the then orange grove laden and rather bucolic San Fernando Valley. Shelley graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1954 and went on to attend the prestigious University of Southern California (USC) from which she graduated with a B.S. in Education in 1958. That same year she met her husband-to-be, Harvey Davis, with whom she recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Shelley was always passionate about education and children and worked as a teacher at Erwin Street Elementary School in Van Nuys, CA, from 1958 to 1962. In 1962, Shelley and Harvey had their first son, Marc Davis, and in 1964, Shelley gave birth to their son Gregg Davis. Shelley was a deeply involved and loving parent who loved to read to her children, take them deep sea fishing in Malibu, CA, and on many educational adventures. Shelley and Harvey loved traveling the world together and were quite adventurous, being some of the earliest American travelers to go to China, first in 1979, and over twenty times after that. Shelley was fascinated by and had a deep love of Asia, especially Japan and China, and studied and was able to read, write, and speak Mandarin Chinese.
Judaism was deeply important to Shelley in many aspects from being active in her congregations, to researching Jewish history and genealogy, to activism on behalf of Israel and to combat anti-Semitism. She also mastered the art of making the best Shabbat challah, matzo ball soup, and brisket from scratch. Shelley also made the extraordinary step of studying for and having her Bat Mitzvah, which she did not have the opportunity to do as a 13-year-old, as an adult in her forties at Temple Judea in Tarzana, CA. In her late fifties, Shelley returned to university to get an M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University, in San Rafael, CA. She practiced as a therapist with a focus on helping young children.
Throughout her life, Shelley was deeply involved in the lives of her family and friends, always remembering and celebrating birthdays and other life events through a nearly infinite stack of Hallmark cards as well as using Facebook like a social media obsessed teenager. Shelley was also an avid and accomplished genealogist, diligently researching all sides of her family and making connections to long lost or even hitherto unknown relatives across the globe.
For Shelley, family and friends were truly the center of her life, and we invite you all to come celebrate her life and mourn her passing at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, 6001 W Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045. For those of you unable to attend the service, live streaming will begin at the time of the service, 2:00 PM Pacific time, at: https://www.hillsidememorial.org/live-streaming/ (for the Large Chapel stream, submit the password: rdavis). For those of you attending the service in person, a reception will be held afterward at: The Mark, 9320 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035. If you wish to make a donation in Shelley’s name, please do so to: Jewish Family Services (https://www.jfcs.org/give/). May her memory be a blessing.