Shirley Ray Crane Zito died on January 6, 2022 at the age of 93 years old with her rosary beads in her hand. She was born and raised in the town of Livingston, Louisiana and was one of eight children born to Albert and Almeta Loftis Crane on May 1, 1928. She graduated from Doyle High School and was awarded a scholarship to LSU. She had no way to get to Baton Rouge and asked the principal to change the scholarship to Southeastern University which he did for her. She attended Southeastern catching the Greyhound bus in Livingston to get to Hammond. After attending Southeastern for awhile, she subsequently needed to get a job and moved to Baton Rouge. It was there that she met the love of her life our father, Joseph V. Zito. They had 67 years of wonderful marriage until his death in 2015. After a few years of marriage, to Dad's much persuasion, she converted to Catholicism. She became a devout Catholic who dearly loved the Blessed Mother and the Divine Mercy Novena and believed everyone's life should be structured around the beatitudes. She had a special fondness for education and taught the 2nd and 5th grade for many years at St. Gerard Majella School. Her family subsequently moved to and became members of Our Lady of Mercy Parish for over 50 years. Not long after joining the parish, she became secretary to the principal at Our Lady of Mercy School and was the administrator of the school office for over 24 years until her retirement. She loved the Salesian Nuns who ran the school during her time there. She was an active member of her church parish as a regular volunteer, a member of the Altar Society, Catholic Daughters and as a Eucharistic Minister. She and our father faithfully brought the Eucharist to the sick at Baton Rouge General Hospital for over 24 years. She was also a member of the Eye Bank as well as the Daughters of the American Revolution. She dearly loved and was devoted to her family and was the mother of four children. She had a special love for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and very much enjoyed having them spend weekends with her where she taught them board games, how to play poker and where they stayed awake talking until all hours of the night. She was a wonderful cook who loved having her family over for dinner and was especially famous for her lasagna which became a family staple at every meal regardless of the occasion. She is survived by her children, Jimmy (Cindy) Zito, Don (Lenau) Zito, Nancy Zito (Steve) Anderson, Ken (Ashley) Zito, seven grandchildren, Brad and Matthew Zito, Jackie Ponder, Jennifer Randall, Bryan Zito, Colby and Myles Zito. Six great-grandchildren, Parker Zito, Caroline, Noah and Benjamin Ponder, Cecilia Randall and Emma Kate Zito. A sister, Bonnie Sykes and a sister-in-law Rosalie Moak. She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph V. Zito, her parents Albert and Almeta Crane, sisters, Mary Culbreath, Norma Mayeaux, Hilda Hall, Jane Lister, two brothers, Albert Crane and Gene Crane. Funeral services will be held at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church on January 18, 2022. Visitation will begin at 9:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial starting at 10:30 a.m. The Mass will be conducted by Fr. Cleo Milano, Fr. David Allen and Fr. Trey Nelson. Burial in Roselawn Cemetery. Pallbearers will be her sons, grandsons, and son-in-law. We give gratitude to the Lord for the blessing of our mother and for the graces she received from her devotion to the Blessed Mother. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer or St. Vincent de Paul.
Published by The Advocate from Jan. 8 to Jan. 18, 2022.