Sheila Beth Perlow, who died July 26 at age 75, was a passionate supporter of the Summit Neighborhood Association and served on its board of directors for almost a decade.
She grew up in a house on Lafayette Street in Pawtucket that her family had owned for years, moved away for a while and then came back in the 1990s. She acknowledged that technically she didn’t live in Providence’s East Side, but “I could see Summit from my kitchen window.”
“She loved it over there,” said her daughter, Jill Stewart, adding that Sheila “loved to care for people,” and did so for 30 years in her admitting job in the emergency room at the Miriam Hospital.
Sheila “was genuine all day long, good or bad,” said her daughter.
Dean Weinberg, president of SNA, wrote:
“The passing of Sheila Perlow is a profound loss for SNA and for the neighborhood in general. I’m not even sure how long she’d been involved in the neighborhood association, but it’s been years. She has been a key component of brokering the peace between our residents and our institutional neighbor, the Miriam Hospital. She did this quietly and naturally.
“From my experience with Sheila, that’s the only thing she did quietly. Those that knew her will agree that she had a fun and outgoing personality. She never held her tongue, in a good way. She spoke her mind and let you know what she thought. And she was funny while she did that. I always appreciated not just her perspective on a topic, but the often-hysterical quips she would slide in there for your enjoyment.
“I also appreciated that she would often call me after a meeting, either to agree with the outcome or to express her concern. I’ll miss her raspy voice expressing to me her opinion on something, dropping F-bombs left and right, not mad or excited, but just talking it out. I loved that. She was so honest and easy to communicate with.
“Sheila was incredibly dedicated to the Summit Neighborhood Association. Even though she lived just over the Pawtucket line, she was always, always, always the first to volunteer to help out. She took the fun jobs and the not-so-fun jobs, it didn’t matter to her. She was of-service. The organization has suffered a huge loss with her passing.
“Our sincere condolences go out to her family, including her partner Dan MacLellan, another long-time dedicated SNA board member,” Weinberg wrote.
Last year, Sheila suggested that SNA annually recognize someone in the neighborhood who quietly and behind the scenes contributed to boosting the quality of life in Summit. In honor of her commitment to the organization, the neighborhood and the people in it, the SNA board of directors is moving to authorize the Sheila B. Perlow Community Service Award to be awarded annually based on nominations from the neighborhood.