Eunice Shirley Zelle


Eunice Shirley (Murray) Zelle, beloved mother, grandmother, and friend, died peacefully on August 18, 2021, in Gainesville, Fla.

Eunice was born in New Bedford, where she spent her childhood. As a teenager, she moved to Fairhaven, where she lived most of her adult life, raising her family and caring for many people at all stages of life. In addition to being a devoted mother and grandmother, she was a foster mother to many infants, ran her own daycare, and was a home health aide to elders. Eunice was a devout Episcopalian who served on the altar guild and participated in Bible study as well as fellowship groups at her various home parishes throughout her life. She was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, as well as White Shrine. 

Eunice had a green thumb, and enjoyed gardening and tending to her plants. She loved animals of all kinds, and you would always find at least one dog or cat in her home, most recently her beloved and spoiled Chorkie, Annie.

Eunice loved the ocean, and in her 60s she retired to the island of Martha’s Vineyard, where she continued to serve others through her work at the Edgartown Council on Aging. While on the Island, she met and fell in love with William Zelle, whom she married in 2002. Bill and Eunice were two peas in a pod, and could frequently be found traveling, kayaking, boating, or hanging around the waterfront in Edgartown — most of all, simply enjoying one another’s company.

In her late 70s, after Bill’s death, Eunice moved to Florida, where she enjoyed the second stage of her retirement, owning her own townhome, shopping, gardening, Bunco, traveling, and being with the people she loved. In Florida and throughout her life, she always enjoyed making things and giving them to people, whether it was huge pots of delicious soup; beautiful needlepoint creations to decorate the walls, or afghans, hats, and scarves to keep people warm. In 2017 she moved to Courtenay Springs Towers, and jumped right in with meeting new friends, volunteering, participating in the knitting group, and dressing up her beloved dog Annie, for every holiday occasion. Her apartment was colorfully decorated with her precious trinkets and collectibles, and a puzzle on the table. Up until her death, Eunice would be found knitting dishcloths to give to friends and painting with acrylics.

More than anything, Eunice loved life, and she loved being with her family and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, William (“Bill”) Zelle; by her sons, Stanley Murray Jr. and Stephen J. Murray; and by her siblings, Kenneth Smith, Augustus Smith, Harold Robins Jr., and Gertrude Robins. She is survived by her children, Patricia Oliver (John), James Murray, Michael Murray, and Erica Elliott (Mark); by her grandchildren Melissa Howell (Alex) and Neil Oliver (Nichole); by her sister Elsie Hacking (George); and by numerous extended family and friends. We are all deeply grateful to have known and loved Eunice, and to have been known and loved by her. Her memory is and will always be a blessing to us and to so many others.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in Eunice’s name to St. Francis Reflections (formerly Hospice of St. Francis), online at, or by mail at 1250-B Grumman Place, Titusville, FL 32780. A memorial service is planned for the spring of 2022 in Massachusetts.