by Karen Alberg Grossman

Muriel “Cissie” Shapiro, wife of Syd Jerome founder Sidney Shapiro and a mainstay at the store for many decades, died last week. She was 86 and her passing is mourned by so many friends, family members and virtually all who knew her.

Universally described as full of spunk and energy, charismatic and forceful, a breath of fresh air and a beacon of light, Cissie grew up in Chicago in a family filled with love. Her father ran a car dealership and while the family weathered some hard times, her childhood was happy and filled with friendships, many of which lasted a lifetime.

Cissie met Sidney when she was just 18 through her brother, who played basketball with him; they married in 1952 when she was 19. And thus, was the beginning of their 65-year romance, first building their family and their business, and ultimately enjoying a life together that included travel, boating and joyful gatherings with family and friends.

In addition to her beloved husband who died less than two years ago, Cissie fiercely adored her children and grandchildren! She was the proud mother of Lee (Valerie), Scott (Allison) and Jeff (Nancy) and cherished grandmother of Danny, Traci, Jake, Zach, Jordan, Sara and Max. A live stream funeral service is available to view at Memorial contributions can be made to Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation ( or American Cancer Society (

Says Scott of his mom, “She was a real character, with a unique ability to light up a room as soon as she entered it. It was more than just her energy: she was genuinely interested in people and could readily engage anyone in conversation. She was famous for always speaking her mind, whether or not it was totally appropriate. But people loved her! And my dad would rely on her a lot; customers would come in to the store just to chat with her.”

Indeed. Even menswear sales reps who visited the store would make sure to schedule their trips when she was around. (Scott confides that sitting around schmoozing in the store, these reps would place their vodka between themselves and Cissie so she could sneak sips without Sid getting mad…)

Recalls multi-brand rep Gary Lowy, “Cissie was always the life of the party and kept us all intrigued at every dinner we shared. Sid and Cissie were great hosts to me and many others at their vacation home in Michigan on the lake. When Cissie was at the store, I was always assured a warm welcome. Sid and her sons and their families meant the world to her; her passing leaves us all a bit emptier.”

Says Roger Cohen, “Cissie was the glue. Always at the front of the store greeting customers, planning family gatherings and a constant travel companion with Sid, she was what kept the family together. (And it was always so wonderful to hear her refer to Sid as Sidney!)

And from Pino Vaghi, “Italian and Jewish cultures share the same love and devotion for our mothers. For this reason, I can understand the pain Scott is now experiencing. Fortunately, my religion and beliefs tell me that when good people pass, they reunite in a peaceful place. So, I truly believe Sid and his wife are together now and happy.”


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