Welcome to the memorial page for

Shelby Jean "Teena" Phillips Caselli

July 9, 1939 ~ June 8, 2017 (age 77)

Obituary Image

Born in Washington, Indiana on July 9, 1939. Teena left us peacefully on June 8, 2017 after a 3 month courageous battle with metastatic renal cancer. Her mother was Dorothy Gray Burford and father John Burford. She spent her very early years in Oakland City, Indiana. Her father was a military man and therefore Teena spent her life in numerous schools and states and including Tennessee, Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Hawaii, and California to name a few. She also lived in Japan for a time. She finally found California and this is where she settled-much to her delight! She did a year at Vanderbilt University studying nursing, but after her first encounter with blood she disappeared only to be found by the head nurse in a maintenance closet! She was advised to seek another profession. When in Hawaii, she made numerous life-long friends and told the story of attending classes which included surfing and basket weaving, etc. while she waited to see if she was going to get a stewardess job with United Airlines. This was the year that Hawaii became a State and she was accepted by UAL as the first stewardess to be hired from the state of Hawaii. She went from the tropical weather of Hawaii to the cold of Cheyenne, Wyoming for training.  She flew with UAL for 3 years and then-because of the higher pay-joined with Slick Airlines and flew the South Pacific for a couple of years. Some of her closest friends were made during this time.

She had moved to San Francisco when with UAL and loved "The City" very much. It was there that she met her first husband, Jim Phillips. Jim eventually became a pilot for Pan American Airlines. They first settled in Lafayette, CA. and there they had their son, Dean. They eventually moved to Sonoma, CA. and Teena found her "forever" home. Unfortunately, in 1974, Jim was killed in a plane accident in Pago-Pago, Samoa. This was a devastating time for Teena and Dean to say the least. Thank the Lord that she had family and great friends to help support her during this time.

She volunteered at Sonoma Valley Hospital as a "pink lady" with her friend Pam Hakim and made many people comfortable and have a little fun observing their antics. Teena also worked in the tasting room at Sebastiani Winery for a while-the first lady to be employed there. She enjoyed her time there very much.

In 1984 she and an old friend started to see one another and eventually found an enduring love for one another. She went through a cancer bout in 1987-88 and after her treatments she and Rich Caselli decided to tie the knot-that day was March 21, 1988. They found life together was very enjoyable especially their famous lunches together at the Swiss Hotel and several other places. Rich had a vacation home at the Russian River and Teena fell in love with the area. In 1994 they purchased a home at Northwood in Monte Rio, CA. and Teena truly enjoyed it there and made many friends. She will be missed by many people there as well as in Sonoma and throughout the U.S.

Teena was friends to so many people and cared deeply about those friendships. She was a feisty redhead but had true compassion for others, was very generous and most of all epitomized the meaning of the word “classy” in every sense.

Teena is survived by her husband Rich Caselli, her son, Dean (lady friend Michelle), her brother Tom Stephens (Peg), Dean’s daughters-Shelby, Kelsey and Jamie and their mom Stacy. She is also survived by the Caselli family members-Mike (Sheila), Teresa, Tisha Chinn (Byron) and Molly. Caselli grandchildren, Kendall, Craig and Cyle, Evan and Emma Chinn and Jake and Richie Cross. She also leaves behind her loving dog, Farley and her two cats Charlie and Stella.

A memorial gathering will be held at the chapel at Hanna Boys Center on June 30, 2017 at 10:30 AM.  As per Teena’s wishes, please dress very casually. No suits, ties or sport coats needed.

Donations in Teena’s memory can be made to Pets Lifeline , P.O. Box 341 Sonoma, Ca. 95476 or to the Gary Sinise Foundation P.O. Box 50008 Studio City, CA. 91614 (Honoring our Veterans).  

Charitable donations may be made to:

Pets Lifeline
P.O. Box 341, Sonoma CA 95476

Gary Sinise Foundation
P.O. Box 50008, Studio City CA 91614

 Service Information

Memorial Gathering
June 30, 2017

10:30 AM
Hanna Boys Center
17000 Arnold Dr
Sonoma, CA 95476

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