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Shirley J Shelton

Born: 9/17/1934, Clifton, Colorado
Death: 7/4/2020, Moab, Utah
Service: 07/21/2020, 10:00 am, Grand Junction Veterans Cemetery
Interment: 07/21/2020, 10:00 am, Grand Junction Veterans Cemetery

Shirley J. Shelton passed away on July 4, 2020, in Moab, Utah. She was born September 17, 1934 and raised in Clifton Colorado. She was the youngest of six children born to Ralph and Leona Oberly.

She is survived by her sister Leona Gardner of Leisureville, California. She was married to William C. Shelton for 50 years. Her husband predeceased her on November 12, 2006.

After Shirleyobtained herteaching certificate from Wester nState College in Gunnison, Colorado, she was hired by Helen M. Knight to teach school in Moab, so she and her husband Bill moved to Moab, Utah during the uranium boom to work and raise their family. She and Bill lived in Moab, Utah for 43 years.

After Shirley retired, they sold their home in Moab and 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 from Kindergarten through 7 th grade, except for the 1 st grade. Her favorite grade was 6 th grade, and at one point in her teaching career, she received the “Teacher of the Year award.

Shirley was blessed with three children, Marilyn E. O’Reilly of Moab, Utah, Beverly J. Griffith of Grand Junction, Colorado, and William H. Shelton of Clifton, Colorado. 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 twelve great grandchildren, Preston O’Reilly, BaileyO’Reilly, Oliva O’Reilly, Amelia O’Reilly, Krysta Griffith, Ryker Griffith, Angelyse Griffith, Michaela Griffith, Lucy Griffith, Adaline Griffith, Rosie Barajas, and Athena Barajas.

She was a Girl Scout leader for about ten years. She took three Girl Scout leaders and seven Girl Scouts on a trip to Mexico along with the Girl Scout leader and her troop from Price, Utah, Glenda Gibson. In all, there were was a total of 32 Girl Scouts/leaders who embarked on a memorable 30 day trip to Mexico, which included a stay at the Girl Guide Hostel in Ticalli, Mexico, a trip to the silver city, Taxco, a trip to visit the pyramids in Cuernavaca, 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 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 won a river trip down Cataract Canyon by entering into a contest, and of course she went. She and the rest of the contest winners were featured on the cover of ‘Outdoor” magazine.

Shirley’s home was open to everyone, especially to children and animals. 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. Frances Episcopal Church where Father Sandy had the pleasure of blessing Gertrude the goose for the blessing of the animals. She was an avid member of “Sweet Adaline’s group known as Valley Voices”. Throughout Shirley’s life she was blessed to have three wonderful girl friends, 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, along with her kids meal.

Shirley had a wonderful rich and loving life, and she will be severely missed by her family and friends.


Sorry to here of your loss, I remember Shirley as funny and larger than life with a laugh you could never forget. She let me come in her 5th grade class to get Career Class credits in high school. My mother Joy McClatchy Ferguson always spoke of her fondly after teaching with Shirley many years. I will see you on Tuesday for ceremony, unfortunately my mom is to frail to attend. May you all have peace and closure with her passing.
- Alice McClatchy Bumgarner

Dear Family, Bill and I watched you three grow up, part of the time just up the street from us. and we want you to know that we share in your loss. Shirley was special. Bill enjoyed working with Shirley professionally and she always called him "Boss". I was able to be around her a lot when I worked at the school as librarian and we became friends. She really loved people and the kids she taught. Shirley was our friend and it was such a pleasure every time you saw her because of that great smile and the genuine love that she always had for us. Your Mom was so proud of all three of you and your accomplishments. She will be missed. Love,
- Bill & Inalyn

Shirley was such a joyous and loving person. She helped me greatly my first years teaching at HMK beginning 1975 and was a friend always. No matter where you saw her,she always stopped to catch up and share a laugh. She is remembered by all us who were honored to teach with her. Our thoughts and prayers are sent for her family at her passing.
- Linda Warner

Dear Marilyn and family, I can't express enough my sympathy for the life of your incredible mother. I did not know her, but Marilyn for years has helped me care for my family with love and compassion. I loved the obituary of your mom! I do love characters, and it is obvious that she was one! When Marilyn would come to my home, we would talk about her mom and I would ask how she was doing. Thanks so much for everything! Love,
- Mary Jane

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