Beech Grove remembers ‘caring, compassionate’ resident who died of coronavirus

By Nancy Price

The Beech Grove community is morning the loss of an active volunteer and friend.

Roberta “Birdie” Shelton, 69, passed away March 16 of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Birdie was loving, caring, compassionate in any situation and she would find the good in everyone,” said Penney Bray, member and volunteer of the Beech Grove Moose Lodge. “She never met a stranger! If you met her you were immediately drawn to her and you instantly became a part of Birdie’s family.”

Shelton was a member of the Beech Grove Moose Lodge for many years; she served on the women’s board, led fundraisers and helped others with funeral and medical expenses. “She was able to produce a party/celebration and bring people from all walks of life together to help a family that was in need,” said her friend, Phyllis Devine. “She would raise thousands of dollars at her gatherings, round up bands to play and supply the decorations and packages to auction off. She did everything. She never received anything but a hug and a ‘thank you.’”

Roberta “Birdie” Shelton was a member of the Beech Grove Moose Lodge. (Submitted photos)

Shelton was also instrumental in helping to keep the lodge open when it nearly closed a year ago.

“She genuinely and so heartily loved that lodge,” Bray added. “She brought so many people through those doors to keep the business going so the doors would stay open. That lodge will never be the same.”

An avid music lover, Shelton enjoyed gathering local musicians together to play gigs at local bars. “She had many band friends that she encouraged and helped and started them on many stages,” said Bray. “I will guarantee you they all ended up at the Beech Grove Moose a time or two … she would never leave out that place … if she knew the Moose could benefit from it, she would do it. Her favorite thing to do would be watching her finance Tony sing and perform on many stages throughout the city. She would get his band gigs every weekend. I would say she was the promoter or manager of each band he was in.”

Birdie led many fundraisers to help those in need with expenses.

Shellie Tomblin, a friend of Shelton, remembers her as honest and straightforward. “She always made it seem like she didn’t care what people thought of her, however I believe she cared too much,’ Tomblin said. “I loved her just the way she was; caring, considerate, passionate and putting her everything in whatever she was doing at the time. We now can call her one of God’s angels. I’m sure she is with Him.”

A GoFundMe platform has been set up to help with Shelton’s funeral costs (gofundme.com/f/roberta-quotbirdiequot-shelton). “I encourage everyone to help,” Bray said. ”Birdie was always there for everyone, no matter if you were a family friend, coworker or stranger; if you or your family was in need you could always count on her. Now it is our time to return the favor.”