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Obituaries

Kathleen Blanche Shelton

Kathleen (Yeo) Shelton passed away on March 1, 2024, in Columbia, South Carolina, at the age of 90.

Kathleen was born in London, England on July 5, 1933, to Alice Maude Victoria and Wilfred Horace Yeo. As a young child, she experienced an ongoing emptiness that she couldn’t explain. She would often lie in bed at night and cry while asking, “WHY was I born?” She saw that people were born, they lived a few years, and then they died. Was that it? There had to be more to life than that. She had LOTS of questions, but no one in her family seemed to be able to give her the answers.

A few years later, a school friend named Mary invited Kathleen to summer camp. It sounded interesting and wasn’t going to cost her anything, so why not? Mary told her she would need a Bible, so she borrowed one. There, she met a lot of people who seemed much happier than she was. She would learn later that it was because they knew something, actually SOMEONE she didn’t…Jesus.

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The following Sunday evening, all the camp kids went to church. There, they heard a story about a little boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish. (Kathleen didn’t know it was a Bible story.) The people in the story were talking about using the boy’s lunch to feed 5000 people. “WOW, that’s impossible!” she thought. She’d never heard of miracles before. She was impressed that a little boy was willing to give his lunch away to feed others and thought to herself, “I want to be like that little boy. I want to feed thousands of people.” At the end of the service, she gave her life to Jesus.

Kathleen returned from camp to a home that was void of faith. Her friend Mary and Mary’s family filled the gap by taking her under their wing and teaching her. They taught her about church, the Bible, and prayer. She was encouraged to memorize scripture and share her faith with others.

As Kathleen grew older, she always said she was going to marry a preacher. Little did she know how that desire would change her life. One Wednesday night in 1955. Kathleen and her friends were at church. Many from the congregation were gathered outside before the service when Loyd Shelton, a young American airman, rode up on his bike. One of the women introduced him to some of the men outside and then went inside to seek out Kathleen. “There’s a nice, young American out there, just for you!” she said. Kathleen quickly replied, “I don’t want anything to do with a nice, young American!” A year later, they were married.

Loyd’s proposal to her was, “Are you willing to go anywhere in the world where the Lord leads?” And that’s what they’ve been doing ever since. For a time, they lived in Columbia, South Carolina where Loyd attended Columbia Bible College (now Columbia International University). Two sons, Stephen and Paul, were born while they were there. They later returned briefly to England before serving as missionaries in France for 3 years. Their daughter, Lydia, was born in France. In the late 1960’s, they relocated to middle Tennessee (where Loyd was from originally). There, Kathleen gave birth to John, their fourth child. They remained in Tennessee for the next 50 years, where Loyd pastored several churches and Kathleen honed her abilities

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as a faithful wife, loving mother, and skillful all-round Proverbs 31 woman. She loved to sew, knit, and weave. She sold some of her handcrafts but gave most of them away. She was also a “queen of hospitality.” She loved to cook and was never happier than when she was serving a meal to a houseful of people. She could make almost anything delicious but don’t ask for the recipe…she was notorious for not using one! Her skills in the kitchen ranged widely and included mouth-watering homemade breads as well as traditional British cuisine like Yorkshire pudding and crumpets. (Oh, the crumpets!!) Their home was always full of light and life, and people…lots of people. Kathleen and Loyd spent countless hours teaching, preaching, praying, and encouraging others at all hours of the day and night.

In the twilight of their lives, they relocated once more to Irmo, South Carolina, just a few miles from Columbia, where they’d started out years before. Even there, Kathleen continued giving to others of her wisdom, her hospitality, and the works of her hands as long as her health allowed.

Remember how she said she wanted to be like the little boy with the five loaves and two fish? Well, she was. She fed thousands, both physically and spiritually. She loved Jesus and served him well. May her example light our way as we seek to do the same.

Kathleen was preceded by her parents, Alice & Horace Yeo, as well as her siblings, Norman Yeo, John Yeo, and June (Yeo) Dawkins.

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Kathleen is survived by her husband, Loyd, and four children, Stephen Shelton of Newton, North Carolina, Paul Shelton of Petersburg, Illinois, Lydia Beck of Decatur, Alabama, and John Shelton of Irmo, South Carolina. She is also survived by five grandchildren, Isaac Shelton, Logan Shelton, Taylor Shelton, Grace Shelton, and Rachel Castro.

The family would also like to express their deepest appreciation to Kathleen’s caregiver, Rachel Troutwine. She loved and cared for Kathleen the way a daughter would, and in the process, became a much-loved addition to the family.

A funeral service is set for 11:00 a.m. Friday, March 8 at Doak Howell Funeral Home in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Burial will follow in Holland Hill Cemetery in Coffee County. The family will receive friends from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family would request that donations be made in Kathleen’s memory to Gideons International at PO Box 97251, Washington, DC 20090-7251 or at gideons.org/donate.

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