Obituary: Shirley Hodes Millender
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Obituary: Shirley Hodes Millender

Shirley Hodes Millender departed this life on April 29, 2020.

Shirley Hodes Millender, an Atlanta resident for 55 years, departed this life on April 29, 2020, following a long struggle with multiple illnesses.

Shirley was born in Chattanooga on April 18, 1941, to Philip D. and Bessie Hodes.

She was one of five children and was the second born of the well-known Hodes Triplets, inasmuch as births of triplets were few and far between in her generation.

A photo of the triplets appeared in Time magazine in 1942, as a gesture of patriotism. The photographer pictured the infant triplets sitting on a table alongside a Dachshund draped in an American flag, with the caption, “Three Dots and a Dash.”

She attended the public schools of Chattanooga, graduated from Chattanooga High School and then obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia. She was a popular co-ed on campus, an active member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority, where she was rush chair, and also served on the sweetheart court of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. She majored in clothing and textiles as she was extremely talented in sewing and design, and used her talents in her long career in retail sales of bridalwear and men’s formalwear. She designed and made wedding dresses and executed complicated alterations on wedding gowns. She enjoyed her daily occupation in these endeavors at the former Regina Bridal store and Formal Atlanta at Lenox Square and then at Phipps Plaza. Shirley “held court” in these positions and enjoyed engaging in conversation with her many friends and customers who would regularly come in, if not to make a purchase, to simply say hello and chat. She outfitted many brides, bridesmaids and debutantes from some of Atlanta’s most notable families.

While maintaining a full career, Shirley ran a fully functioning household and was a guiding force in the upbringing of her children Michael and Margaret. She and her husband kept a traditionally observant Jewish home and gave their children a maximum elementary Jewish education at the Greenfield Hebrew Academy (now Atlanta Jewish Academy). In addition, Shirley entertained annually with traditional festive meals for many guests for Sabbaths, at Passover seders and large luncheons on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, following religious services. She instilled in them, through her forceful personality, the importance of strict moral behavior and the dictum to associate with those of their contemporaries who were products of similar character.

She was a life-long member of Hadassah and the Ahavath Achim Synagogue Sisterhood. Shirley enjoyed assisting her husband in his productions for the synagogue’s cultural arts series, which presents public chamber music concerts in its chapel. Shirley would sit at the welcoming table and greet guests, many of whom she was personally familiar. Her style of communication and persuasion always resulted in a sizeable increase in donations.

She will be greatly missed by her family and all those who loved and respected her. May her good deeds and virtue proceed her soul to Heaven and into the arms of the Eternal and may He grant her the peace and contentment which she deserves.

Shirley is survived by her loving and devoted husband Ivan Millender; son Michael J. (Ellen) Millender, of Portland, Oregon; daughter Margaret Millender (Gregory) Musa, of Charlotte, N.C.; four loving granddaughters Sarah Millender and Abigail Millender of Portland, and Rachel Musa and Hannah Musa of Charlotte; sister Beverly Hodes (Edward) Gilbert of Gainesville, Fla.; brother Dr. Irwin (Nancy) Hodes of Nashville; sister-in-law, Carole Hodes, wife of her late brother, Dr. Leonard Hodes of Signal Mountain, Tenn.; several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her eldest brother Albert (Naomi) Hodes of Gadsden, Ala.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Congregation Ahavath Achim or Atlanta Jewish Academy. A graveside funeral was live-streamed May 1, at Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta. Rabbi Neil Sandler, of Ahavath Achim Synagogue officiated. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

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