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Wednesday, December 13, 2023
11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)
Shera Lee Ellison Berlin, 94, of Charleston, SC passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by family and friends. She was born on February 3, 1929, in Charleston and was the only daughter of Etta Clein Ellison and Aleck Ellison. Shera Lee was raised by her best friend Jestine Matthews. She was predeceased in death by her husband Alwyn Berlin.
Shera Lee was known for many things but her most important job was being the mother to her four children, Edward Berlin (Hazel), Dana Berlin Strange, Charlye Berlin, and Ellison Berlin; and Grandma “B” to her three grandchildren Berlin Strange (Ken Strange), Maggie Berlin, and Helen Berlin (Judith Berlin).
Shera Lee was a graduate of Ashley Hall and University of South Carolina. After graduation she returned to Charleston and was a teacher at Mitchell Elementary School. Her students always left at the end of the day with a line up so that she could hug each of them so she could be sure they had a loving hug. It always made her day when one of her former students saw her in the community and spoke to her about how much they loved her.
She was very involved in the Charleston community, particularly in things related to fundraising for the Jewish community. She was one of the first Lions of Judah. Under her leadership their growth was guaranteed because she had a knack for not taking ‘NO’ for answer from anyone. Other causes that benefitted from her power of persuasion were Addlestone Hebrew Academy, BSBI Sisterhood, Charleston Jewish Federation to name a few. She was involved with fundraising for the American Cancer Society and performed in several of the “Steppin’ In Time” Reviews.
Shera Lee was a long-time supporter of the Democratic Party and was one of the Hollings Darlin’s when Fritz Hollings was running for Governor of SC. She was a great supporter of the arts in Charleson and was a season ticket holder to the Chamber Music Series for the Spoleto Festival for many years. She had a beautiful voice and often told stories about singing in all the churches in town at weddings of many of her friends.
Shera Lee grew up in the fashion industry here in Charleston for many years – some would say she was the Influencer of her time. She worked alongside her husband, Alwyn and brother-in-law, Henry Berlin in the woman’s department at Berlins Clothing store. This was evident in the way she dressed and carried herself. Heads would turn when she entered the room and she always loved to hear how beautiful she looked. If it wasn’t enough for her to set the trend on how to dress, she was a valued expert in interior decorating and would travel with her best friends, Freida and Joe Sokol to market to help make selections for their store Morris Sokol furniture.
Shera Lee was co-founder of Berlin’s Restaurant Supply in 1986. She supported her sons Edward and Ellison in establishing their successful business. Her passion and dedication were evident to all. In addition, she was the most loyal supporter of Jestine’s Kitchen which her daughter, Dana established in honor of Jestine Matthews.
Shera Lee’s Family would like to acknowledge the wonderful women who have helped care for her over the past eight years. Without her “Nursie’s” she would not have been able to remain in her own home and to maintain her dignity and grace. Thanks to: Barbara Devoe, Gwen Turbinton, Vanessa Brown, Theresa Hamilton, Marcia Robinson, Erica Porter, Veronica Rollins, and Willette Williams. We are also grateful for the care provided to her by the staff with Lutheran Hospice.
No flowers please. Donations can be made in her memory to Brith Sholom Beth Israel, 182 Rutledge Ave., Charleston, SC 29403, Charleston Jewish Federation, 176 Croghan Spur Road, Suite 100, Charleston, SC 29407, The American Cancer Society, or a charity of your choice.
Graveside services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at Brith Sholom Beth Israel Cemetery,198 Sycamore Avenue, Charleston, SC 29407. Family will hold Shiva at her home at 258 Confederate Circle on Wednesday and Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. Downtown Chapel.