Nellie Elizabeth Shelton passed peacefully to her heavenly reward on February 22, at the age of 94 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She was born on a small farm near Greenup on March 7, 1921, the oldest child of Harold and Clarice Dillier. As the oldest of three children, she carried much responsibility from an early age working on the farm and helping with her brother, Dale, and sister, Opal, while becoming a top scholar through high school. Always popular, pretty and talented, her farm became a hangout for her many friends. Without the money to go to college in the late ’30’s, she went to beauty school and began a lifelong career as a beautician upon graduation. At the outset of World War II, she opened a beauty shop with a friend in Rantoul, Illinois where an Army Air Base had been opened to train bomber pilots. Sadly, the war took its toll on many of the men she dated along with her high school classmates. In early 1944, a high school friend returned from serving in the Pacific through the early years of the war and that friendship developed into a love affair that would last until Wayne Shelton’s death 44 years later. They were married on May 20, 1944.
Wayne decided to stay in the Navy after the war and together they traveled the United States and the world making numerous friends. They had two sons, Michael and Charles, whom they were devoted to. The sad and unexpected death of Charles at age five affected her deeply. Nellie found time to not only continue her career as a beautician once Michael was in school, but also to serve in various capacities such as president of a military wives’ club, a scouting leader, and charity worker. She was a great cook, loved to dance and entertain their many friends. After Wayne’s death in 1988, Nellie’s focus centered upon her son’s family, particularly the grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was always there for them and greatly loved.
Although she had moved to Virginia only 12 years ago, she was the epitome of what is known in the South as a “Great Lady”. She lived life to the fullest, created a lasting impression on all who knew her, and left her family a memory of love they will take with them all their days. She was preceded in death by her husband, MUCM William W. Shelton, USN, Ret, a son, Charles W. Shelton, a sister Opal Schmidt, and her parents. She is survived by a brother, Dale Dillier, a son, RADM Michael W. Shelton, CEC, USN, Ret, daughter in law, Mary, three grandchildren, Michelle Lowe, Jessica Wilson (Luke Wilson), and Thomas Shelton, together with three great grandsons, Michael and Mason Lowe, and Sean Wilson. She will be interned with her husband and son in Greenup, Illinois.
Funeral services will at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Barkley Funeral Chapel in Greenup, Illinois. Burial will be in the Greenup Cemetery.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.barkleyfuneralchapels.com.