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  • by Tory Shelton

Tory's Memories of Grandma Shelton

"Good morning. I am Tory Shelton, Carolyn’s grandson by way of her son Dave (and his wife, my mom, Barb). Several years ago my grandma spoke at my high school graduation ceremony. She didn’t like to speak in public very much, or to draw attention to herself, so I was surprised and delighted when I found out that my mom was able to arrange this for my homeschool graduation. Now I am thoroughly delighted to return the favor and share at her graduation ceremony today."

[Barb now] Thus began our son, Tory's, beautiful tribute to his Grandma Shelton at her memorial service.

Tory sharing at his grandma's service, with his wife Chrissy on stand-by / Tory's Memories of Grandma Shelton /

Tory had asked Chrissy to come up to the podium with him to just be on standby in case he couldn't get through it without breaking down crying. Chrissy was literally on the same page as him, so that, need be, she could pick up where he'd leave off. He did cry a few times, but he was able to regain his composure, so she never had to jump in; she just got to stand there looking cute.

Back to Tory's speech now...

"Grandma loved cooking, gardening and going for walks, among other things. She also loved going to church, praying and reading her Bible, which is where she drew her strength from.

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But her greatest delight in life was her family. She loved being with and serving her family more than anything. It didn’t matter what the occasion was, whether preparing a large meal for a holiday gathering, or making a small bin of applesauce when she came by to say “hi,” she just loved to bless people."

Tiny tots Sharnessa & Tory on each side of Grandma Shelton / Tory's Memories of Grandma Shelton /

Christmas 1981, I'm guessing.

Sharnessa on the left, Gramma, and Tory.

(Keep in mind, these are older

photos that were scanned.)

"She, of course, loved to spend a whole afternoon or evening together when you could, but she was happy if you just stopped by to visit for a few minutes while you were out and about. She was happy for whatever time she could get with you. And she would always let you know she was genuinely thankful.

From the time I was two years old, Grandma started a tradition with my sister and I. Every Wednesday, she would pick us up after she got off of work and take us to get a treat at Bressler's Ice Cream or Cozy Nook.

Then we would go to her house for the afternoon where we would visit or play games with her. We would stay there through dinner time and we got to enjoy literally hundreds of her wonderful meals.

This became what was known as “Grandma’s Day,” and we looked forward to it every week.

This tradition continued until we moved on to the adult phase of our lives, but she kept it going through the next wave of grandchildren.

Grandma made a huge investment in each of her grandchildren’s lives and she loved us all dearly and never played favorites… That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t her favorite."

Grandma Shelton putting on Tory's socks / Tory's Memories of Grandma Shelton /

Grandma Shelton getting

Tory's socks on him before leaving

for a Gramma's Day.

"To this day, Wednesday is still synonymous with “Grandma’s Day” to me, and though it is on a different day of the week, my mom is continuing this tradition with her grandchildren.

About the last two years of Grandma’s life brought on some very difficult challenges for her. Though she always took excellent care of herself, for reasons unknown, her mind and body started to work against her. This brought on new challenges and hard times.

But it is in these hard times in life that we can find some of the greatest pieces of good. In the Bible, Ephesians 5:25 says for husbands to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church and that he gave up his life for her.

Never in my life have I seen a truer example of this scripture lived out than in watching my grandpa lay down his life and take care of his beloved bride. Though I knew it before, [Tory now looks over at his Grampa in the front row] I never got to see the depths of your love for Grandma, and I will NEVER forget it.

Grandma touched so many people’s lives in many different ways. This became more evident to us as her last days drew nearer. Whether it was hearing a story from Grandma’s younger days, or friends and family reaching out to us to let us know how their life was touched by her.

My sister Sharnessa noted at one point that it was more difficult and painful to be losing her because she gave so much and loved so deeply. This is very true, but I am so thankful for that pain because this means that our lives are so much richer and deeper from what she has given to us.

Tory (2) & Sharnessa (3.5) in sailor outfits Grandma Shelton made / Tory's Memories of Grandma Shelton /

Tory (2 years old) & Sharnessa (3.5)

in the sailor outfits that Gramma

Shelton sewed for them.

I am truly blessed that I got to have her for my grandma and, although it hurts so much to have her gone, I am grateful knowing that a part of her will live on in each of us.

Whenever we would leave her house at night after a visit, Grandma would always wait on the porch until we left and then she waved as we drove off. Then she would go inside with her beloved husband and be with him until it was time to go to sleep.

I didn’t realize it at first, but I think that was her way of telling us how she was going to leave the earth...

After an evening with her family gathered by her side [this was at Hospice], she waited until we all went home. Then one last time she fell asleep next to her husband and went home to be with Jesus."

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