Michele S. Scalera, Loved Her Family

By on June 28, 2017

shelly scaleraMichele S. Scalera died at Duke University Hospital on June 22 from complications of heart disease at the age of 73. Born in Newark, Shelly was the daughter of Katherine Michels Fletcher and Robert Fletcher. After graduating Barringer High School, she worked at Gowi Madison Advertising Agency. She married Frank J. Scalera, who died in 2002. In 1968, they moved to Verona, where they raised two children. In 2013, Shelly moved to Leland, N.C.

Shelly was happiest when surrounded by family. As an only child whose father died when she was a teen, she was blessed with a strong, long-lived matrilineal line. With the birth of her daughter, the family had five living female generations, from great-great-grandmother Koch to daughter Melissa.

Some of her happiest times included Friday night dinners and Pinochle games with the family. She also played a mean hand of gin. Her maternal grandfather, a painter by trade, taught her to paint and wallpaper. A meticulous decorator, she would take on almost any project. When asked how she learned to do something, she would reply, “It was easy, I just got an estimate and decided to do it myself.” She was a master at reading directions, a skill her husband often lacked.

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Her son, Michael Scalera, was a childhood actor whose roles included “Joey Martin” on Shelly’s favorite soap opera, All My Children. His success was in large part attributable to her willingness to drop everything and take him to Manhattan at a moment’s notice for auditions. At first, they took the bus, but after a short time she screwed up her courage and learned to drive like a New York City taxi driver. When Michael landed a movie role in Los Angeles, she used that same courage to travel alone for the first time ever, accompanying her young child to California for over a month of filming.

She is survived by her daughter, Dr. Melissa Scalera, son-in-law Robert Pressey and their two children, Michael and Catherine Pressey of Randolph, Vt., and her son, Michael Scalera of Philadelphia. She is predeceased by her husband of 35 years, Frank Scalera; a grandson, Samuel Scalera; and by numerous well-loved pets. She was especially fond of her West Highland White Terriers.

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Visiting in the Prout Funeral Home, 370 Bloomfield Ave., Verona will be on Friday, June 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. Services will be held in the Prout Funeral Home on Saturday, July 1 at 9:30 a.m. Interment to follow in Hollywood Cemetery, Union, N.J.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation in Shelly’s honor to the humane society of your choice.

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