Shirley J. Shelton passed away on July 4, 2020, in Moab, Utah. She was born on Sept. 17, 1934, and raised in Clifton, Colorado. She was the youngest of six children born to Ralph and Leona Oberly. Shirley is survived by her sister, Leona Gardner of Leisureville, California.
She was married to William C. Shelton for 50 years until his death on November 12, 2006. After Shirley obtained her teaching certificate from Western State College, she was hired by Helen M. Knight Elementary School. She and her husband moved to Moab and lived there for 43 years. After Shirley retired, they moved to Grand Junction, Colorado. Shirley was an educator for 38 years, including being vice-principal at Helen M. Knight Elementary School. She taught almost every grade, bur her favorite was the sixth grade.
Shirley had a feisty adventurous spirit. She had her own parking space at City Market. Mind you it was not a designated parking space. It was a space close to the door that she called her own. Her grandchildren would tell her she could not park there, and she would simply reply, “watch me.” She also entered a contest for a river trip down Cataract Canyon, and of course, she won. She and the rest of the contest winners were featured on the cover of ‘Outdoor” magazine.
Shirley was a Girl Scout leader for about 10 years, during which she took 32 Girl Scouts and leaders on a memorable 30 day trip to Mexico, which included a stay at the Girl Guide Hostel in Ticalli and a trip to Acapulco to watch the cliff divers. It took four years of hard work for everyone involved to earn enough money to be able to go on the trip, which also included $200.00 spending money for each girl.
Shirley’s home was open to everyone. She did not care how many would be dining at her table for dinner. When told who would be coming, she would simply state “what’s one more?” Her home was famous for the menagerie of unusual animals, including geese who were often found on East 3rd South directing traffic. Shirley was an active member of St. Francis Episcopal Church, where Father Sandy had the pleasure of blessing Gertrude the goose for the blessing of the animals. She was also an avid member of Sweet Adaline’s group, known as Valley Voices.
Throughout Shirley’s life, she was blessed to have three wonderful girlfriends, Marilyn Cooper (deceased), Jeri Pelling (deceased) and LaVarre Hibl. They fondly referred to themselves as the “Golden Girls” and went on a trip to Ireland together. After going to Ireland, Shirley acquired a liking for Irish whiskey and would often request a wee bit of the Jameson.
Shirley had a wonderfully rich and loving life, and she will be severely missed by her family and friends.
Shirley was blessed with three children, Marilyn E. O’Reilly of Moab, UT; Beverly J. Griffith of Grand Junction, CO; and William H. Shelton of Clifton, CO. Shirley has seven grandchildren, Dennis O’Reilly, Micheal O’Reilly, Patrick O’Reilly (deceased), Micah Griffith, Matthew Griffith, Michelle Martinez Griffith and Mariah Griffith; and 12 great-grandchildren, Preston, Bailey, Olivia and Amelia O’Reilly; Krysta, Ryker, Angelyse, Michaela, Lucy and Adaline Griffith; and Rosie and Athena Barajas.
At Shirley’s request, cremation has taken place and a graveside service will be held July 21 at 10 a.m. at the Grand Junction Veterans Cemetery. You may send condolences to the family at www.SpanishValleyMortuary.com