Lois Beglen Shelly, 86, died peacefully on October 24, 2019, in Toledo, Ohio, after a short illness. Her family and friends surrounded her with love as she journeyed to her new life.
Lois was born on March 24, 1933, in Cincinnati, Ohio. With her family, she lived in Atlanta, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey; and Sylvania, Ohio. She attended Withrow High School in Cincinnati; Stephens College (Columbia, Missouri); and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Denison University (Granville, Ohio). She then pursued further studies in education at the University of Cincinnati.
Lois loved children of all ages. This love, and her strong belief in the value of education, led her to teach elementary grades in Atlanta, Georgia. She also served as a Girl Scout leader in Sylvania and taught many art workshops and classes for all ages.
Lois was a gifted artist. Most of her work was in batik, indigo dying, stitchery, photography, and papermaking. She focused most intensely on fabric design, producing many beautiful and elegant pieces of wearable art. Her work was shown in many galleries in Sylvania and Toledo. She was an artist in residence at the Toledo Botanical Garden, served as president of the Athena Art Society and Spectrum Friends of Fine Art, and was a docent at the Toledo Museum of Art.
A life-long friend and lover of nature, Lois saw and appreciated the beauty and gifts of our precious natural world, from the largest trees to the smallest insects. She was especially interested in trees, always seeking to learn what the different kinds were wherever she traveled. She also enjoyed birdwatching and looking for wildflowers throughout each spring, summer and fall. With her son Steve, she recorded each of the wildflowers they encountered near their home and in the Toledo Metroparks.
Throughout her life, Lois enjoyed many different sports and outdoor activities, including tennis, running, bicycling, canoeing and rowing, fishing, hiking, camping, llama trekking, cross-country skiing, gardening and swimming. With her daughter Liz, she enjoyed horseback riding and going to horse shows. Lois developed and taught her own exercise classes in Sylvania. Her love of plants and gardening was evident in the careful and beautiful landscaping she created around her homes in Sylvania, for which she won a Master Gardener award.
Lois was strongly devoted to helping her community and volunteered for many organizations, including the Sylvania Tree Commission and Meals on Wheels. Most recently, she especially enjoyed working with the Read for Literacy program, spending time each week with young readers at the YMCA and the downtown Toledo Public Library. She also devoted many hours of service to St. Michael’s in the Hills Episcopal Church, especially in the care of the Memorial Garden.
She and John, her beloved husband of 62 years, were world travelers. They toured widely in the United States, as well as in Canada, Japan, Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, and the Middle East. Their shared sense of adventure and appreciation for many cultures was a highlight of their time together for many years.
Lois is survived by her husband, John Henry Shelly; son, J. Stephen Shelly and daughter-in-law, Karen M. Shelly; grandson, John (Joss) Kiely; nephews, Geoffrey M. Beglen and Gregory T. Beglen (Natalie); grandniece, Sarah Beglen and grandnephew, Kevin Beglen; and sisters-in-law, Patricia Beglen and Caroline Beglen. She was predeceased by her daughter, Elizabeth Beglen Morris; brothers, Roger T. Beglen and Joseph M. Beglen, Jr.; sister, Joan D. Beglen; father, Joseph Michael Beglen and mother, Alma Wittfelt Beglen.
The family wishes to thank the staff of the University of Toledo Medical Center and Ohio Living Swan Creek for their care and kindness.
A memorial celebration will be held at St. Michael’s in the Hills Episcopal Church, 4718 Brittany Road, Ottawa Hills, Ohio, (419) 531-1616, on Thursday, November 7, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a memorial contribution are asked to consider the United Way of Greater Toledo, Toledo Botanical Garden, Read for Literacy, or the St. Michael’s in the Hills Episcopal Church endowment fund.
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