Margaret “Maggie” Shelley

Published 8:34 am Friday, November 4, 2022

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Margaret “Maggie” Shelley, age 95, of Andalusia, died on Oct. 20, 2022, at Florala Heath and Rehabilitation in Florala. 

A memorial service celebrating her life will be held on Nov. 9, 11 a.m., at the First United Methodist Church of Andalusia, with the Reverend Ken Jackson and the Reverend Timothy R. Trent presiding.

Mrs. Shelley (or Miss Maggie as she was later called by her friends and students) was born June 4, 1927, in her grandmother Bedsole’s home in Samson, Alabama. She is survived by a loving family and a host of friends: her daughter, Gretchen Franco, grandchildren Davis Jensen and Alexis Franco, niece Rita Fowler (Marcus), nephew John Owen Bedsole, Jr. (Jodie), great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, church fellowship members, former teachers, and students. She was preceded in death by her parents, the Reverend Earline Owen and Ralph Solomon Bedsole; her husband Robert P. (Bob) Shelley, her daughter Amanda Jensen, her son-in-law Derrick Jensen, her brother John Owen Bedsole and her sister-in-law, Helen Bedsole. 

She was a devoted and loving mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, and cousin, and was sublimely happy being with her family and friends. She spent many happy hours on the front porch of her 100-year-old birthplace with her cousin Martha Ann Calvert. A faithful and active member of the First United Methodist Church and the Ethel Chapman Sunday school class, she taught adult Sunday school classes for many years, served as Lay Leader of the church, and was on several church committees. One of her proudest achievements was organizing and taking part in the church’s Outreach Communion ministry. She was a Certified Lay Speaker and was a faithful member of the Bible study and prayer groups. In 2007 she was honored with The Alabama-West Florida Methodist Conference Evangelism Award. 

Mrs. Shelley loved music; she often spoke of her joy and appreciation for her church choir and musicians.  She had a great love for people, and delighted in “doing for others”; many people were the recipients of her creative greeting card ministry. She enjoyed working in her yard, caring for her home, reading, corresponding via her computer, traveling, and visiting friends and loved ones. She valued her membership in the Inter Se study club and served in various offices during her tenure. 

Mrs. Shelley was a retired high school and junior high school teacher of English, having taught for 36 years. She was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Alabama and a Master of Education degree (concentration in English) from Auburn University. In 1968 she was chosen as one of 48 teachers in the nation to attend an Institute on Elizabethan Drama and Art with an emphasis on Shakespeare at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Earlier, in 1955-56, while she was living in Munich, Germany, she was employed as executive secretary to the Chief of Administration at Radio Free Europe. Mrs. Shelley had a deep and abiding love for teaching and her students and continued to enjoy loving associations with her former students throughout her life. She loved and cherished children of all ages. 

While living in Auburn, she was a member of the honorary societies Delta Kappa Gamma and Phi Delta Kappa. Her classroom at Auburn Junior High School was used as a laboratory for English education students, and she supervised interns from Auburn University. During this time she wrote juvenile fiction reviews which were published in the “English Journal.” Mrs. Shelley was honored with the dedication of the Auburn Junior High School yearbook “The Eagle” in 1981, Teacher of the Year in 1987 at Florala High School, and in 2012 she was named Grand Marshall at the Laurel Hill School Homecoming celebration. While volunteering for Covenant Hospice, she was awarded the Spirit of Hospice award.  She wished to be remembered as one who loved her “fellow man.” 

The family will receive friends downstairs in the fellowship hall of the church immediately following the service. Flowers are gratefully declined. The family has requested any memorials be given to the First United Methodist Church of Andalusia or a charity of choice. Keahey Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.