MARJORIE HILLYER SHELLEY
If you were lucky enough to spend time in Marge Shelley's kitchen on Shamel Street in Uhrichsville, you undoubtedly passed by a large bulletin board festooned with hundreds of photographs of people and places that she held dear.
There is the large photo of Dave, her late husband of 60 years, standing proud in his Marine uniform. And there's a much older one of her parents Edgar E. Hillyer and Louise Coldren Hillyer, taken at their home in Uhrichsville. Nearby is a faded photo of Margie and her brother Hudson Hillyer, taken when they were youngsters.
And countless photos of her son Kurt and daughter Kim adorn the wall, from the time they were babbling infants to the time they had families of their own.
And there are more recent photos of her grandchildren, Carly, Maddy and Casey, reaching various milestones in their academic, athletic and social lives. There was a friendly competition among the grandchildren to see who scored the most photos, thus making him or her Grandma's "favorite". And there were whispers that unauthorized photos were added to the collection to swing the vote of most favored grandchild.
And each photo was carefully chosen to tell a story. One from 1951 showed a 20 year old Margie riding in a sporty convertible, parade-waving to the crowd, as the Clay Week parade traveled the streets of Uhrichsville. She had been selected as Miss Clay Week, sponsored by the family business Clay City Pipe Company. It was not long after, in 1953, that Miss Clay Week married Dave Shelley. It is believed that this photo was the inspiration for his marriage proposal.
In that same year, Margie graduated from OSU with a BS in bacteriology, followed several years later with a Master's (cum laude, she reminded her family) in the same field. She went on to work in the lab of Union Hospital and then as quality control director at Bowman Pharmaceuticals in Canton.
OSU held a special place in her heart. She was an avid football fan who participated in too-numerous-to count tailgating excursions to Columbus. She was a proud alumna who, as an undergraduate, could be found in the pool practicing synchronized swimming as a member of the Swan Club. Unfortunately, there aren't any photos of her precision swimming. In her spare time, she was president of her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi.
And there are several pictures of the French River in Ontario, where she practiced the fine arts of catching fish and enjoying evening cocktails on the cabin porches which overlooked the river. She was a life-long fisher-woman and still put worms on her hook well into her 80's.
Countless photos remind the viewer that Margie truly enjoyed her life. She can be seen beaming in nearly every photo and she was always glad to tell the backstory (and there always was a backstory) of every photo she put on the wall. And though Margie has passed on, these photos remain as a testament to a life well-lived by a woman well-loved.
She is survived by her son, Kurt Shelley, daughter and son-in-law, Kim Shelley and Burt Sturrup and her grandchildren and their spouses, Casey and Alysha Sturrup, Carly and Andrew Hopwood, and Maddy Shelley and Connor Baak. Surviving nieces and nephews include Blair and Jody Hillyer, Brad and Kim Hillyer, Beth Hillyer and Wendy Wolf, Becky Hillyer and Kim Richards, Lisa Shelley, Lori Shelley Woods, and Dana Ferrell as well as many grand and great grand nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to do so may make a donation to the Uhrichsville Clay Museum, P.O. Box 11, Dennison, Ohio 44621.
Due to COVID restrictions, there will be no calling hours but a celebration will be held at a future date. A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 11 a.m., at Union Cemetery in Uhrichsville.
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