Muriel Garofalo Wolfe Tribute
May 23, 1926 - April 15, 2022
Muriel Garofalo Wolfe, age 95, passed away peacefully at her home in Walnut Creek, CA on April 15, 2022 with her children at her side. She was born Muriel Patricia Butler in San Francisco, CA on May 23, 1926. Muriel’s parents were Anthony Harold Butler (Harry) and Evelyn Josephine Grant Butler. Muriel was the second of three sisters (Virginia Lee and Elaine Protti) who their father, Harry, affectionately referred to as his three queens.
Muriel was a child of San Francisco, attending Catholic elementary school and Lowell High School. She was an excellent student and very musical, playing in piano recitals as a child and going on to be a music major when she attended San Francisco State College. During World War 2 when there was a shortage of male musicians Muriel played the clarinet with Marilyn Miller’s All Girl Band in San Francisco.
Muriel grew up in the Irish community of San Francisco, with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins living just down the block. She loved ‘the city’ and would often tell the story of walking across the Bay Bridge with her sisters on the day the bridge opened in 1936.
While attending San Francisco State College Muriel met another music major, Don Garofalo, who she married in 1949. Muriel and Don lived as students in San Francisco, and Berkeley, moving to their first home in Pleasant Hill, CA in 1956. In 1951 their daughter Denise was born followed by their son, Donald Richard in 1953. Muriel was a elementary school teacher at Pleasant Hill Elementary in Pleasant Hill her entire career. She always said her favorite aged students were 4th graders.
Muriel and Don moved to Walnut Creek, CA in 1965 where their children went to school. They divorced in 1977 and Muriel married Gene Wolfe in 1981. Muriel and Gene moved to Rossmoor, CA in 1985 where they enjoyed retired life with lots of national and international travel. Muriel was stepmother to Gene’s three children, Susan Goggins, Michael Wolfe, Heidi Wolfe and and step-granddaughter Brook Wolfe. Gene passed away in 2007 and Muriel continued to live in Rossmoor with her son, Don, until her death.
Beginning in 1980 Muriel welcomed her four grandchildren, Eli, Ben, Nathanial and Erin who she loved so very much. She was a huge fan, attending birthday parties, graduations and weddings as the years went by. Then in the 2000s she was graced with three great grandchildren, Milan, Archie and Dorothy who were the apples of her eye. In her last days seeing a photo of one of her darlings would still bring a big smile!
In her later years Muriel continued to travel, taking her son, daughter and son-in-law on several cruises in Europe. Muriel and her daughter, Denise, also traveled together extensively, visiting Great Britain, France, Canada, and numerous locations in the US. She and Denise also enjoyed a tradition of celebrating their May birthdays in Carmel CA every year.
Muriel was an avid reader until the end, particularly enjoying murder mysteries. She was especially interested in poetry, taking classes and writing her own poems. She also loved to play Words with Friends with her sonin-law Milan. She was an excellent seamstress, needlework fan and knitter. creating many beautiful items. Her sons and grandsons loved the knit caps she gave them. Muriel loved dogs and always had a special (and spoiled) pet in the house. She was active in her community, volunteering as a docent at the Walnut Creek Art Museum where she led tours of the museum with elementary age kids. Muriel was also very active with Planned Parenthood and Grandmothers for Peace.
Muriel was a very special lady whose grace and kindness impressed all who met her. Muriel was much loved by family and friends and will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
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