Monday, November 1, 2010

The Life of Shelly Wallwork Catton

Shelly Wallwork Catton
December 22, 1959- October 28, 2010 
Written By Amy Wallwork Kinross
Delivered by Amy Wallwork Kinross and Karen Wallwork Gobright
November 2, 2010

Shelly Wallwork was born December 22, 1959 in Redwood City, CA to Landell Traut and LoRane Packer Wallwork.  Little did they know that Shelly would be their first of seven children.  As Lanny and LoRane were bringing “Baby Shelly” home from the hospital they decided to make a quick stop at their bank’s drive-up-teller window.  Dad was so excited to show off his adorable little girl that he told mom to hold Shelly up so bank teller could see her, which she proudly did.  Shelly was born of goodly parents who instilled in her an impeccable sense of integrity and values. They gave her the spark that ignited her burning testimony of Jesus Christ.
On Shelly’s second Birthday she was given one of the greatest gifts of her life, a baby brother named Keith.  This gives new meaning to the expression, “the best two years.”  Seriously though, she truly loved Keith and tried to keep him in line her entire life, to no avail (JK). 
Several more siblings were to follow:  Amy Lyn, Scott Landell, Karen, Glenn Landell and finally, Mark Landell. 
From a very young age, Shelly understood and accepted consequences.  Mom likes to tell the story of when Little Shelly was potty training (hope this isn’t TMI Shelly).  There was a carnival in town and Shelly really wanted to go on the merry go round.  Mom told her that if she didn’t have any accidents that day, she would get to take a ride.  A few hours later, Shelly approached mom and simply stated, “I guess I can’t go on the merry go round.”  She willing took responsibility for her actions, an amazing trait for a two year old.  That was our Shelly, in a nutshell.  Mature beyond her years, always trying her best to be “good.” 
Shelly’s love for music and especially for the piano developed at a very early age.  Her preschool teacher told mom and dad that they should give Shelly piano lessons, which, thankfully, they did.  Shelly, very quickly, became an accomplished pianist.  When Shelly was only 10 years old, she was asked to be the pianist for Primary (the children’s organization in our church).  In preparation for her first day as pianist, she practiced and practiced all of the songs in the Primary song book.  She told our mom that she felt confident with all of the songs except for the song “Called to Serve” which was not on the list of songs for that week so she would be fine.  Singing time went well and she was able to play every song.  At the last minute, the chorister said “you children did such a good job singing today, so as a reward you get to sing your favorite song, “Called to Serve.”  Shelly turned WHITE!  She quickly said a prayer in her head and began playing.  She played perfectly!  Later she told our mom that she did NOT play that song because it was beyond her ability.  She knew that the spirit of the Holy Ghost had taken over and helped her to play the song.  Shelly later shared that this was her first experience with the power of the Holy Ghost. 
Because of her love of the piano, she played almost constantly and became an amazing pianist.  Our family enjoyed gathering around the piano and singing together.  Shelly was amazing at “sight reading” and could play almost anything we put in front of her.  Christmas will never be the same without our Shelly.  
Shelly willingly shared her talent on the piano and the organ in churches and community events. To quote close family friend, Sterling Ruth, “She had Mad Barefoot Organ-playing skills.” 
Shelly loved to learn and began her formal education at McCoy Elementary school in Campbell, CA and then Cedar Grove in San Jose, CA.  She attended Quimby Oak Jr. High where she was a cheerleader.  This is also where her love of the performing arts was born.  She played an adorable Dorothy in her school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.”  She was salutatorian of her eighth grade class. 
She went on to attend Silver Creek High School.  She was a flag girl in the marching band and over the years, talked affectionately of her band trip to Philadelphia in 1976 during our country’s Bicentennial.  This was one of the highlights of Shelly’s life. 
Shelly was a natural dancer.  As a senior in high school she was cast as the lead in the stake dance festival which was titled, “Welcome to Shelly’s Bedroom.”  With pigtailed hair, painted on big pink cheeks, and adorable “Barbie pink” pajamas, Shelly twirled and whirled around the set performing like a pro.  
No one could believe she had never had a dance lesson.  She had a captivating stage presence.  Shelly loved dancing her entire life. 
In her high school yearbook, she was voted by the senior class of 1978 as “Most likely to succeed,” which she definitely DID.
She was so excited to attend Brigham Young University and went there with her best friend and cousin, Lorna.  Shelly and Lorna were roommates and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of their freshman year together.  Shelly fully intended to return to BYU in the fall for sophomore year, but during the “four month” semester break AND at the ripe old age of 19, she met and married Kurt Catton.  Lorna says the rest of her BYU years were never the same without Shelly.
Shelly Wallwork married Kurt Catton on September 28, 1979 in the Mormon temple in Oakland, CA.  Kurt and Shelly bought their first home in Santa Clara, CA.  They lived on “Landslide Court.”  (What were they thinking?!!!)  Their home was always filled with music.  The Catton family lived and loved on Landslide Court for over 20 years, until the fall of 2003 when they moved to Fresno, CA.
As a newlywed, Shelly worked at Wyle Electronics.  After a few years, she realized her dream of becoming a “stay-at-home” mom.  She was also a loving, licensed day care provider.
Shelly and Kurt’s first child, Gregory Joseph Catton, was born on January 31, 1983.  Greg is the first grandchild on the Wallwork side of the family and has always been known as the “king of the cousins”.  Greg inherited Shelly’s sense of responsibility; and from Kurt, he inherited his ability to “take charge.”  This combination makes for a very capable and reliable personality. Shelly relied on Greg throughout her life….  He has never disappointed her.  She was always proud of how he lives his life.  She loved his strong yet gentle spirit as well as his constant resolve to “do what is right.”
Greg is married to his high school sweetheart, the adorable, Stacey Scoffield Catton.  They have two children:  Jonas Scoffield Catton, born January 16, 2007 (3 ½) and Ezra Glenn Catton born August 21, 2010 (2 months).  Jonas enjoyed sitting on Grandma Shelly’s lap as she played the piano.  He loves his grandma very much and she him.  Grandma Shelly was so thrilled to meet baby Ezra and to attend his baby blessing just one day before she re-entered the hospital.
Julie Christena Catton was born on January 1, 1988, New Year’s baby.  Shelly has always admired Julie’s confidence.  Julie was so confident as a child that when she was about 10 years old, Shelly asked her to cut Shelly’s bangs.  Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be one of Julie’s strong suits.  When Shelly told me that she had Julie cut her bangs I said, “What were you thinking?”  She just laughed and told me that she thought Julie could do anything.  Thankfully, this incident reminded Shelly that Julie was still a child and had lots of room for growth.
Julie, like her mother, is an accomplished pianist.  Shelly loved Julie’s creative flare and admired her athletic ability.  Julie is married to Christopher Michael Phillips they are the proud parents of Roxy Alexandra Phillips, born August 12, 2010, who we have affectionately nicknamed “Fussbucket.”  Roxy was born while Shelly was in St. Agnes hospital for treatment of her Leukemia.  Shelly was able to go upstairs to the labor and delivery room and visit Julie during her labor and again when Roxy was born.  The first time Shelly was able to hold her; Roxy was completely focused on her Grandma Shelly’s face and appeared to be trying to communicate with her.  Great Grandma LoRane says she has never seen a newborn baby behave in such a way.  We believe that Roxy must have known that Grandma Shelly had little time left on this earth and she felt a sense of urgency to bond with her grandma.
Tori LeAnn Catton was born on January 17, 1995.  Tori attends Clovis North High School.  Tori was a precocious child and always spoke with a vocabulary beyond her years.  When Tori was 3½ years old, she traveled on an airplane to Utah with her mom, Greg & Julie, Aunt Amy, and cousins Steve, Spencer, Colin and Heather.  Tori sat next to her cousin Heather who is just three weeks younger than Tori.  Cousin Heather said, “Tori, what if we pounded our feet really hard and broke through the floor of the plane, then we could just float in the air.”  Tori looked at Heather and said in her cute little girl voice, “No, we would just be in the cargo hold.”
Tori loves choir and drama.  She is a terrific baker and can often be found whipping up a batch of Aunt Karen’s famous brownies or Sparks chocolate chip cookies, which she calls “CCC’s.”  Ever since Greg got married and Julie left for college, it has been Shelly and Tori, “the lovely Catton girls” as I often called them.  Tori was very close to her mom and together they enjoyed baking, watching “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” as well as the performing arts.
Each one of Shelly’s children carries with them her legacy of faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ and a propensity to do good.  What greater measure of success as a mother, than this?
 Shelly was the accompanist for the Miliken elementary school choir, in Santa Clara, CA. Her good friend Carol MacDonald led the choir and they had a great time together. She has been a piano teacher her entire adult life and has thoroughly enjoyed sharing her joy of music with many enthusiastic students. 
Most recently, she worked as the pianist for the Sunnyside High School Choir.  Shelly was greatly loved by her students and them by her.  She often spoke affectionately of her choir students and knew them individually.  She thoroughly enjoyed working with Mr. “B”, Mai Bedderly and Davis (sorry dude, I don’t know your last name.  Shelly always referred to you as “Davis.”)
When Shelly and Tori moved into their condo a few years ago, Shelly’s dear Friend, Ginger, put a saying on their wall that read, “music is what feelings sound like.”  This saying spoke to Shelly’s heart.  
Shelly was diagnosed with leukemia on July 12, 2010.  She had a very aggressive illness and chose to undergo chemotherapy treatment which resulted in the significant loss of her hair.  Shelly decided we should buzz her head, and she had an adorable “spikey.”  When Dad came to visit Shelly he said, “I recognize that little head.  It’s the same little head we took home from the hospital 50 years ago.”  When Mom saw her she said, “It still has that same little dent on the side.”   In the past few months, we have asked Dad, over and over again, to tell us his reaction to seeing Shelly’s buzzed head.  It is one of the dearest things he has ever said.  Shelly loved the Catton family dearly and adored her nieces and nephews on both sides.  
Our sweet Shelly was taken from this life on October 28, 2010 @ 11:27 pm.  She was surrounded by her children, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.  She was never afraid to leave this life and she passed very peacefully to the other side. 
Today, as we picture Shelly, she is dancing, singing, and playing the piano.  She is reuniting with Grandparents and other loved ones who have passed on before her.  She is watching over all those she loves who are still on this earth.  She continues to testify to the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Shelly was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  She is a true Christian and a genuine follower of Jesus Christ.  Her life was a reflection of the teachings of the Savior.  She is truly a beloved daughter of God and beloved of her family and all who knew her. She had a calm and reassuring presence.  She exhibited strong faith throughout her life until the very end.  Our hearts are broken as we say goodbye today, but we are comforted to know that we will be together again.