The distinguished Louella Ann Shelton (Woods) peacefully reunited with the love of her life, Earlwood Shelton, on January 9, 2021 at NKC Hospital. Louella was born on February 21, 1929 in Clay County, Mo., to Neely and Ella (Odell) Woods. She was number eight out of nine siblings, preceded in death by all.
Her younger sister, “Myrt”le Hughes, was her best friend, and had many adventures together. This included raising their families together and almost wrecking the car when the radio announced that Elvis had died. They enjoyed sharing stories about how their older brothers often kept them out of trouble by lifting them out of reach of their short stature mother.
Louella met the love of her life, Earlwood Shelton, in 1946 while working at the McCleary Clinic. She had dated other men; however, she always said it doesn’t take long to know if you truly love someone and could live with them for the rest of your life; the other men took too long. It only took Earlwood one month to know she was the girl for him. After their whirlwind romance, they were married on January 25, 1947, and both began working at the Royal Hotel; Louella, the elevator operator, and Earlwood a bellhop. One day Louella passed out on the elevator and that is when they learned they were going to be parents. They had three beautiful children, Vickie Shelton, Robyn Bradshaw, and Aundra (Kevin Ringer) Hedges.
Louella held a few other jobs like selling Avon and working at Montgomery Wards. The Shelton family moved to their dream home on Northview Drive. Her sister Myrt, and her husband Charlie Hughes, moved onto Southview Drive where their children, Sheila Thompson and Gary Hughes, were raised. Louella and Myrt raised their families together as one. Not only did they live near each other, but they also frequently vacationed together, even sharing a boat they took down to the Lake of the Ozarks on the weekends. Louella took great pride in how her girls looked and those girls were known for being the best dressed every Sunday at the Woods Memorial Christian Church, where they were longtime members.
Louella opened the Fashion House with partners and friends, Myrt Hughes and Ella Robyn McKown. After, the family moved to Bolliver, Mo., for a period of time only to return to Excelsior Springs in the late 1960’s when Louella opened Martinez School of Cosmetology with friend Betty Seigel on Broadway Blvd. It was named after Reme Martinez, a foreign-exchange student from Spain that lived with them in the early 1970’s. Shelton Estates, in Excelsior Springs, was developed and where they would spend the rest of their lives with their daughters, and soon grandchildren, close by. Louella thoroughly enjoyed helping people look their best from makeup, to clothing, to hair. She loved her cosmetology students and family. She wanted her students to be successful and to be able to take care of their families. Growing up in the depression, she wanted others to have a better life than her. When you love what you do, you stick with it. Louella finally retired as a cosmetologist and instructor when she was a young 83 years old.
Family is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Louella. She unconditionally loved her family and would do anything for them at any cost; she always found a way through difficult times. Large family gatherings were common at the Shelton’s home. From Louella’s three beautiful daughters came 10 grandchildren, Jennifer (Barry) Lamb, Miranda (Scott) Denmark, Teasha (Victor) Vargas, Rachael (David) Peak, Erica (Scott) Ritter, Brett Shelton Thomas, Adrian (Chris) Nightingale, Tyler Hedges, Adam Campbell, and Caila Heintz; 15 great grandchildren; and 12 great-great-grandchildren.
How can you describe a person who was largely impactful to everyone they met? Her actions spoke louder than words. A few words that come to mind when describing Louella are selfless, caring, respectful, strong, and tenacious. She always gave to others before self and believed in humanity. She was the first person to stand up for you and what is right. Sometimes that came as a hard lesson. Louella would give away free shampoos and haircuts to those who needed it. She opened her home to those who needed a home – which were many throughout her life. Louella respected everyone and treated everyone with kindness. She was a proud and successful business owner.
To those who called her mom, she supported and trained them to work hard to be the best and most successful in whatever career they chose. Louella taught her children to put family first, go to church, and be joyous and happy. She was known for her love of singing (even if she never knew the words and sang a lot of la-da-das), and big Sunday morning breakfasts which contributed to tardiness at church. God was always watching you, and if you misbehaved, you watched Billy Graham on TV. Louella made sure her daughters used their manners and were kind to everyone; she led by example. Babies were her weakness which is why she loved her grandchildren so much.
To those who called her Memo, which were many because she was a grandmother to all, she was the type of grandmother that danced in the front room with you, squeezed you tight, rocked you to sleep in your favorite rocking chair, and scrubbed you in the bath until you were literally squeaky clean and smelled of Redken soap and White Shoulders. You could count on a fire in the fireplace, soup on the stove, and homemade hot chocolate. Memo was super strong woman and couldn’t be beat at arm wrestling, and we tried, ask Brett. She always made us laugh when she pretended to be a contestant on the Price is Right. Louella gave the choice of fighting naked in the front yard or holding hands and reading the bible if you got in trouble. She was known for her rolls, and at every family gathering someone yelling, “don’t forget the rolls!” so they didn’t burn in the oven.
To those who called her a friend, she was known for her generosity, kindness, selflessness, and the occasional cheating during card games.
Louella had great pride in her community of Excelsior Springs. She enjoyed eating at Ray’s Lunch and the Mill Inn Restaurant. She loyally shopped at Ruth King’s and other local businesses. Louella loved to take car rides through Watkins Mill while eating an ice cream cone from the Dairy Queen. She had a green thumb and had the best plants and flowers. Her jade and geranium plants were ginormous! Louella leaves behind a strong legacy. She raised her family with strong values and how you can get through anything with love and support. As her and her late husband said frequently, “we’ve lived a good life!”
Visitation to the public will be on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Bross & Spidle Funeral Home, 217 W. Broadway, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024. Graveside service to follow at Hillcrest Cemetary at 1:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, monetary donations can be made to Louella Shelton and sent to 401 W. Kansas Street, Liberty, MO 64068.
Our Sincere Condolences
What a wonderful woman she was very kind and considerate a great teacher and boy she could twirl that comb she taught me alot and I will never forget her rest in peace forever in my heart …
I’m so sorry for your loss. Louella was a awesome teacher and awesome neighbor. My family and I will surely miss her. I will miss seeing her checking her plants outside her home and giving me a wave as I head off to work. My heart is sad but I know she is in paradise with her beloved husband.
Louella was my grandma’s (Ann Seller) good friend and fellow church member (also mine). She knew I wanted to be a cosmetologist at a young age and every time I’d come to the school for a hair cut she’d swing a chair around and tell me, “we’ve got a chair ready for you!” When the time finally came and I attended Martinez, everyone would ask her if I was her granddaughter and she’d always reply, “She might as well be!” I loved her so much. Thank you for sharing her story! My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Louella was a very sweet lady. I remember her and Earlwood fondly from my days at Martinez. I’m sorry to her friends and family for their loss. Much love to all.
Condolences to the family and especially my friend Vicki Shelton who takes after her strong and resilient mother.
I am so sorry for your loss. I grew up with the Shelton girls at Woods Memorial Church. Mrs Shelton was always so nice and pleasant and enjoyed seeing her around town all these years. Please accept my sincere condolences.
Shirley Thompson Crowley