Bill was born October 6, 1926 in Sikeston, Missouri. He was the youngest of seven children born to Reece and Nola Madge (Hazel) Shelby.
Bill is survived by dear friends, including Kenneth Carter, Scott Aldrich, Janice Carter Horvath, Mary Jane Webb, Joyce Lee Vinson and Jean Shoemaker. He is also survived by his beloved dachshund, Shannon.
Bill joined the U.S. Naval Reserves while attending Vienna High School. In 1944, his reserve unit was activated and Bill had to leave school at the age of 17 and was inducted into the United States Navy. He served aboard the battleship U.S.S. Iowa, which was anchored adjacent to the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay at the time of the surrender of the Empire of Japan. Bill witnessed this historic event from his vantage point aboard the U.S. S. Iowa. Following the war, Bill returned home to complete his education and graduated from Vienna High School. He served 2 additional enlistments in the U.S. Navy during the 1950’s.
Bill was encouraged to further his education by his dear friend and mentor, Daisy Powell, wife of Paul Powell, Speaker of the Illinois General Assembly and subsequently Illinois Secretary of State. Daisy personally took Bill and a friend to the Office of Admissions of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where she demanded that they be accepted on the spot, as well as given employment. Bill and Daisy were friends for many years and Bill assisted her in the maintenance of the Powell home in Vienna.
In 1962, Bill moved to California. His working career was primarily in the sales field. He was initially employed as a salesman in the construction industry. Bill later worked for an independent carpet company. His final employment prior to his retirement was in the sales division of a department store which was subsequently acquired by Macy’s. Bill had a knack for interior design and was known for his superb taste in color, style, home furnishing and décor. Bill loved to antique shop and was an extensive collector of antique furniture. He took particular and immaculate care of his possessions. Since his return to Southern Illinois, Bill’s primary passion has been the restoration, decoration, upkeep and maintenance of the historic Jackson House, which was originally built in 1880.
Bill also enjoyed gardening and reading fiction novels. He had a zest for life and enjoyed the antics of young children. Bill is remembered for his fun-loving demeanor and for being “young-at-heart.”
A celebration of the life of Bill Shelby will be conducted in October 2015. Specific arrangements will be announced at a later date.
Memorials may be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 424 E. 92nd St, New York, NY 10128-6804.
To share a memory of Bill or to leave an online message of condolence, please visit www.baileyfh.com
Arrangements have been entrusted to Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna.