The Stern Pinball family is mourning the loss of Shelley Sax-Eldridge, the “Jack-of-All-Trades” who worked alongside Gary Stern for more than 40 years. The company announced she died Tuesday after a multi-year cancer battle.
“Without Shelley, there would be no Stern Pinball,” said Gary Stern, chairman and founder. “Shelley embodied our company’s entrepreneurial, get-it-done spirit. More importantly, she was one of my closest and dearest friends and I will miss her.”
When Shelley helped found the company in 1986, she wore many hats, serving as receptionist, purchasing clerk, bookkeeper, traffic manager, personnel manager, office manager and administrative assistant. The title on her business card was lovingly changed to J.O.A.T. and never changed during her time at Stern Pinball.
Shelley began her career working for four buyers in the furniture department at Montgomery Ward. As she started developing her organizational skills, management took notice and moved her up the company ladder. In 1979, a friend told her about an opening for an executive assistant at a pinball company. She went on the interview, accepted the job on the spot and the rest is history.
“Despite her occasionally profane protestations to the contrary, Shelley absolutely loved what she did and being part of the Stern Pinball family,” Stern shared. “We will never forget Shelley. Her immense contributions to our company and the pinball industry will live on forever.”
Shelley is survived by her husband Larry Eldridge, brother and sister-in-law Steve and Dianne Sax, and niece Misty Sax. Memorial arrangements are being planned.