Shirley Cassagne Fontana

October 6, 1923 ~ June 17, 2019 (age 95)


Shirley Cassagne Fontana,
beloved wife of the late Paul J. Fontana, Jr., passed away in her home on June 17, 2019 at the age of 95.

She was born in New Orleans on October 6, 1923, and was a graduate of St. Joseph’s Academy (’41). Along with her employment as a clerical worker, she was an active volunteer at St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic School and a long time parishioner of St. Lawrence the Martyr and Our Lady of Divine Providence parishes. She was prefect of the Sodality at Holy Rosary Church for several years; enjoyed participating in the USO during WWII; and was also an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She enjoyed playing weekly games of bridge or canasta and simply spending quality time with her many lifelong friends.

Shirley was an affectionate and doting wife for 24 years and remained faithful to the memory of her husband and soulmate for the rest of her life. Even as a widow, she could sometimes be heard talking to him when she thought no one else was listening. Her children describe her as an attentive and supportive mother who worried about them but never stood in the way of their aspirations. She was the most loving and patient Maw Maw to her two grandchildren. She never said “no” to playing whatever game they suggested and always loved listening to anything they wanted to say.

With an amazing sense of humor, Shirley kept her family laughing until the very last day. She could strike up a conversation with anyone she met. Describing her personality, her husband often said, “Shirley has never met a stranger.” Almost every situation brought a song to her lips regardless of the fact that she admitted she “couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.” She was a devout Catholic with a special devotion to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; Saint Therese the Little Flower; Saint Anthony (who often helped her find her lost glasses); and Father Seelos. When she was not praying for her family and friends, she often asked the Saints in heaven to intercede on behalf of the New Orleans Saints team on the football field.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Alice Braud Cassagne and Henry Frellsen Cassagne, and her brothers, Henry F. Cassagne Jr. and Stanley Cassagne. She is survived by her children Marie F. Scheyd (Greg), Carol F. Chatelain (Steven) and Paul G. Fontana. She was the loving Maw Maw of Dr. Joseph Chatelain and Cassandra Chatelain.

Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the Funeral Mass at JACOB SCHOEN & SON FUNERAL HOME, 3827 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119 on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 1:30 PM. Visitation will begin at 11:30 AM. Interment will follow in Hope Mausoleum, 4841 Canal Street. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in her name to either the American Heart Association ( or Jefferson Parish Council on Aging (

To send flowers to Shirley's family, please visit our floral section.



Hope Mausoleum
4841 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70119

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