Mary Rose Shelton

Shelton, Mary Rose web PicFeb. 1934 – July 2015

Family and friends are grieving the death of our much-cherished Mary Rose Shelton who died peacefully at Memorial Hospital on Monday, July 6th. Our community has lost an exceptional woman who nurtured her own precious family and who worked tirelessly to help empower others and promote social justice.

Mary Rose was born in February of 1934 to Eric and Laura (Pim) Swadell, joining her older brothers, Carl, Eric and Robert. The Swadell family moved to different locations around the world as her father fulfilled his mission as a U.S. Army Chaplin. A strong Christian faith formed the foundation of her upbringing, and these values served her well all through her life and as she approached the end of her life.

When the Swadells were stationed in Berlin, the beautiful Mary Rose met and married the dashing young Lieutenant George Shelton in 1951. They commenced a productive and interesting marriage, giving life to Mark, Eric, and Sally Shelton. They had been married 57 years when George passed away in 2011. The Sheltons lived in Modesto most of their lives, interrupted by stints of service with the Department of Defense Dependents’ Schools, first in France in 1961 when their children were young, and then again in Germany, in 1979, when their kids were grown. They retired to Twain Harte for 20 years before moving briefly to Samaritan Village. After George’s death, Mary Rose returned to live in Modesto where she was healthy, contented, and fulfilling involved in many activities until just weeks before her death.

Mary Rose earned her RN and MFCC degrees which certified her for nursing at local hospitals and Hospice, nurturing children as a school nurse in the Modesto City Schools, counseling couples and families as a therapist at Shalom, and finally, as Director of Health Services at Modesto Junior College. Mary Rose always gave whole-heartedly of her exceptional skills and compassionate wisdom as she served her clients, making a concerted effort to not let anyone “fall through the cracks.” Mary Rose also volunteered widely for various organizations in the community, including the following: Friends Outside, Hospice, the Gallo Center, Interfaith Ministries, and she was the founder of the Tuolumne County PFLAG Chapter. In their early years together, George and Mary Rose were active members of the Modesto First Christian Church, moving their membership later to the College Avenue Congregational Church. Mary Rose and George traveled to many countries during their marriage, and later, when George chose to stay at home, and after his death, Mary Rose continued to travel far and wide nurturing family relationships and always disproving the image of the “ugly American.” Also, Mary Rose played the piano and after retirement, learned to play the ukulele and perform with the Fun Strummers. Mary Rose enjoyed playing Bridge and, as well, reuniting with the many friends she made throughout her life all over the world.

Mary Rose Shelton was an informed and passionate steward of the earth. She revered all the living forms on the planet and treated each with respect. She embraced diversity in all the peoples of our world and has inspired others to follow in her footsteps.

Mary Rose is survived by her children Mark, Eric, and Sally, and their wives, Kathleen, Mieko, and Barb Eue. Precious grandchildren include Sarah Carleo, Lea Rose, Alexandra, James, David, Christian, and Maria Shelton. Great grandchildren are Kaya and Rocco Carleo and Ellie Shelton. The graceful spirit and wondrous memories of Mary Rose will live on in all the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to have known and loved her.

A service will be held at College Avenue Congregational Church on Saturday, July 11th at 4:00 PM. Memorial gifts may be made to the Alexander Cohen Hospice House, 2201 Euclid Ave, Hughson, CA 95326.


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