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Our Special Tribute to

O.D. Shelton

…as reflected upon by Brenda Shelton Nielsen
Near the Cross

O.D. SheltonThe Great Depression ended, the bombing of Pearl Harbor began… which started World War II, Franklin Roosevelt was President, Fort Knox was created to house U.S. gold bullion, but in a small rural town of Henderson County, Chandler, TX arrived O. D. Shelton. O. D. was born to Leta Rue and Alvin Clinton Shelton on April 28, 1935. When I asked his mother what the initials "O.D." stood for, she said "oh damn"…but his father wouldn't let her call him that. He was the eldest of four children (O.D., Marlin, Novell and Kenneth). On the music scene Red Sails in the Sunset was being sung by Bing Crosby, and Mutiny on the Bounty was the Academy Award Winner at the movies.

Leta Rue and Alvin Clinton SheltonAs a child, he worked in the cotton fields with his mother. I can remember him telling me how hard the work was and how he would have to pull his younger brother along with him on top of a burlap sack. One of his first paying jobs was setting fence posts and stringing barbed wire. When his family moved to Tyler, he began working at the Bakery with his Uncle Joe Greer, and then onto the O.D. Shelton Western Foundry where he would set molds. He dreamed of making something big of his life and he knew that it would take hard work, long hours and supreme dedication for his dreams to come true. So he took the path of shooting for the moon, knowing that if he missed, he would still land among the stars. He had his first child, Bethany on November 29, 1953 when he was married to the lovely Betty Lou Butcher (RIP February 15, 1937 – July 3, 1979). He drove an 18-wheeler for the rose growers in Tyler, played guitar and sang in several Country-Western Band's and rustled up other jobs in his quest for success.

During his marriage to the beautiful and talented Robbie Nell Bigham, he had three wonderful children: Sheree' on June 13, 1957, Ronald on March 30, 1960, and Stephanie on December 22, 1964. During this time, he moved from the East Texas area to the greater Houston area. Here he worked for Kellogg Brown and Root International Construction where his assignments took him to Thailand where he worked on the Yanhee Dam Project. When he returned to the States, he started his own company, Superior Crane Sales and Services and Shelton Equipment Sales. O.D. was the very first to import the Kroll Tower Cranes (manufactured in Denmark) into the States. Tower cranes were used to construct high rise buildings. O.D left a legacy in Houston, since most of the original high rise buildings were built with his equipment. O.D. was a successful businessO.D. Shelter man. He diversified his operations and started Pasadena Steel Products. This company provided welding, pipe fabrication and metalworking to some of the largest oil refineries in the Gulf Coast area. He found himself on the road a lot, so he became a licensed pilot, purchased an airplane and worked many long hours to keep both companies afloat. He was an excellent pilot.

Oil DerrickDuring the 25 years that we got to spend together, we founded Continental Piping Industries, BDE Industries, Bonanza Supply, ROSHEL Industries, Ultra-MedicsSupply, AMORTEC, and Share A Dream Foundation. We designed state-of-the-art oil field pumping units which O.D. had manufactured in Red China for NPS Supply Company in New York. O.D. was a Ulrta-Medic monitorgreat engineer and together we designed concession trailer's, Sea World push carts, restaurant type equipment, ultra-medic supplies, and other state-of-the art items. It was in 1981 that O.D. adopted my daughter, SherRee' Elicia Nielsen. She was so excited at the fact that she would finally have a brother and three sisters. It was also during these years that we experienced first hand major loss and grief when SherRee' Elicia was killed by a drunk driver on November 6, 1985, and our precious granddaughter Robin Waynette Price (Bethany's daughter) died on April 4, 1998.

O.D. SheltonO.D.'s health became a constant battle for him, but we survived these obstacles because of the love, trust, respect and dedication we had for each other. During the last ten years of our marriage I was not only his constant companion but his care giver. What a privilege it was to care for the man I love. The best husband, father, grandfather and friend a person could ever have.O.D. Shelton

O.D. and I spent a lot of time playing music together. O.D. had been in several Country-Western bands in his early days and never lost his love for acoustic and steel guitar. He would play steel guitar and I would accompany him on the piano. I have selected one of my favorite numbers that he did - "Near the Cross" where he is playing his double neck, pedal steel guitar.

Some of O.D.'s greatest past times were hunting, skeet shooting, fishing, camping and anything related to the outdoors. He was an excellent dog trainer and we would take the English pointers to our South Texas bird lease and I was always so impressed to see his art of dog training first hand. After his last strokes, he had severe apraxia (loss of communication and coordination skills) and paralysis … but he still wanted to do the things he used to do. So after consulting with his doctors on what would be safe for him, I was able to teach him how to shoot a shotgun again and staged a white wing bird hunt in South Texas shortly before his passing. We taught him to drive a car again and I prepared flash cards so that he could communicate with others. That was a real accomplishment since his speech was so limited. I told him and his Speech Therapist that the day I come home from work and you can say "Baby, I want a Jeep"…I will take you downtown Frederick MD and buy you one. I never thought he would be able to accomplish Brenda and O.D. Sheltonthat. And, surprisingly enough he worked so hard with his Therapist that he had that sentence down in under one month and yes, I had to hold up on my end of the bargain. He got a new silver Jeep.

During this time, I was a Project Engineer working for the Government and this required a lot of travel to various job sites (I was a liaison between Houston TX and Washington DC). I got a motor home so that he could accompany me everywhere I had to travel and made him feel like part of the project by discussing the building plans and asking him "how he would do things"…since in his prime he was the best at everything he set out to do. I wanted him to feel the confidence that he once possessed, plus this allowed me to still be his care giver and have him at my side. I wanted to restore his strength, Charlie Brownindependence but most of all his self-esteem.

I nicknamed him "Charlie Brown"…he kept saying "why is everybody always picking on me". He left me all alone so in the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything…but two minus one equals nothing. Every morning I spread out the days before me…I look at the days we got to spend together – some bright as frosty stars, some glowing with an opalescent magic, some cool as water-tumbled pebbles, some flashing with fire. The morning dew has lost it's bliss and dreary shadows fall…for we are without our special friend….the GREATEST MAN OF ALL. My heart learned to enthrall the sun that shone so brilliantly, but now hides out behind gray clouds. Even the flowers by our way are held in mist-like shrouds. Life somehow doesn't seem the same…sweet smiles are hard to find. All the old familiar scenes serve only to remind our hearts once filled with buoyant hope is now heavy with despair. There are no tender words of confidence…no longer one to care.

But life is for the living and so we must journey on….engulfed in somber loneliness because our friend is gone. His many health issues took their toll (five heart attacks, two open heart surgeries, and in 1998, he suffered multiple strokes (back-to-back) after undergoing carotid surgery…putting him in a coma. He stayed in the hospital for five months and in a coma for four weeks, and several years after that GOD called him home. (RIP O. D. Shelton April 28, 1935 – December 6, 2003). Even with his severe disabilities, we never missed a day of reminiscening about his five children (Bethany, Sheree' Ann, Ronald, Stephanie and SherRee' Elicia), the joy that each one brought him and the dreams he held for each. Reflecting on stories told to me by O.D., I will share those with you:

Bethany SheldonBethany was his first child and O.D. had a special place in his heart for his first born. Beth loved red apples and red soda. Growing up he wasn't able to be around her as much as he would have liked but he gave her a special coin that said "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference". Beth and Loren got to go on our last camping trip together two weeks before he passed away.

Sheree' Ann was his second child. O.D. worked for Brown and Root at the time and had taken a Sheree' Sheltonjob overseas in Thailand. Sheree' has always had a love for music. She was playing with a neighbor's child and for some reason decided to take some marbles home. She had them in her pocket when her Daddy spotted them and asked where she got them. She proceeded to tell him that she stole them from the neighbors … and he began to lecture her on "how wrong it was to steal things". He used the analogy…and what if it were their piano…Sheree' immediately said, but Daddy it wouldn't fit in my pocket". Sheree' was always able to make him laugh.

Ronald SheltonRonald was his only son and was always a constant companion and shadow to his father. O.D. always took Ronnie hunting with him. When Ronnie was 13, they went deer hunting. It was the last day of the season and Ronnie wanted to get that trophy deer. He shot into the trees and low and behold he shot a Moufan Sheep. When O.D. approached Ronnie, he asked "Son, where is the deer you shot"…he knew that Ronnie would never miss. Well, he found out that it wasn't a deer but O.D. was proud of his son, so he bought the Sheep from the farmer and had it mounted for Ronnie.

Stephanie SheltonStephanie is the next to the youngest daughter. O.D. tells the story about taking her fishing. They were on a camping trip and Stephanie decided she wanted to catch a fish. So, she borrowed a fishing pole from some man standing on the pier, then looking around she knew that she had to have some bait, so she borrowed a worm from some lady and low and behold…she snagged a fish. O.D. was so proud of that "first fish"..he made sure that he cooked it over the camp fire that same night.

SherRee' Elicia was the youngest daughter. SherRee' was my only child. O.D. SherRee' Eliciaand SherRee' had a very special bond. O.D. adopted her when she was 16 years of age. He introduced her to some of the finest foods in the world: Escargot, Beef Wellington, Gourmet Filet, Crawfish, Oyster Rockefeller, etc. O.D. and SherRee' loved to eat… they would actually have eating contests. One night we had been Brenda and O.D. Sheltonout to a very special dinner, everyone was so full, so we passed up the Cherries Jubilee. However, as soon as we got home, SherRee' was in the kitchen cooking Spaghetti.

O.D. will always have my heart. O.D.'s major goal was to make Heaven his home. He read his Bible and prayed for hour's every day. His hope was that his entire family would make it their goal to join him in Heaven some day. Yes, we will always remember O.D. as the best husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend to all, but most of all a Child of God. One of O.D.'s favorite scriptures was Romans 8:28 "…and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…"

The 3 men in my life – O.D., Ronnie & Travis
So.TX bird hunt – Brenda, Ronnie & friend
The 3 men in my life – O.D., Ronnie & Travis
So.TX bird hunt – Brenda, Ronnie & friend
 FIFI trained O.D….she was "HIS" baby
One of the many bird dogs that O.D. trained
FIFI trained O.D….she was "HIS" baby
One of the many bird dogs that O.D. trained.
   Launch attachment OD designed – My brother Monty is trying it out.
O.D. & Ronnie – last fishing trip

Launch attachment OD designed – My brother Monty is trying it out.

O.D. & Ronnie – last fishing trip
O.D., Beth, Sheree' and Stephanie
Ronald, O.D. and Bethany
O.D., Beth, Sheree' and Stephanie
Ronald, O.D. and Bethany
Brenda, Travis and O.D. – Olive Garden, Houston
Brenda & O.D. – Pascal's Manale, New Orleans
Brenda, Travis and O.D.
Olive Garden, Houston
Brenda & O.D.
Pascal's Manale, New Orleans
Our precious granddaughter left this world way too soon
ROBIN WAYNETTE PRICE
May 28, 1970 - April 4, 1998
     
Robin – age 2 O.D., Beth, Robin & Misty Robin – age 12
Robin – age 2 O.D., Beth, Robin & Misty Robin – age 12
     
Bethany, O.D. and Robin
Bethany, O.D. and Robin

Release me, let me go…for now I must travel on alone. Grieve for me if you must but then let your grief be comforted with trust. Our parting will only be for a short time so keep those memories tucked away inside your heart.

And if you need me, call and I will come – though you can't see me or touch me – I'll be near – and if you listen with your heart – You will hear me. And then, when you must come this way alone. I'll greet you with a smile and say 'Welcome home".

Robin Waynette Price (May 28, 1970 – April 4, 1998)

   

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