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Helena Evelyn Shelden

Aug 12, 2012 - Staff

Helena Evelyn Shelden of Lander died Aug. 7, 2012, at the Help for Health Hospice in Riverton. She was 85 years old.

Memorial services are at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 875 Fremont, Lander. A graveside service is conducted at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison in Helena, Mont.

Helena Evelyn Shelden was born June 17, 1927, in Missoula, Mont., to Charles and Emma McCauley. Her grandparents were Montana pioneers.

She attended the Target Range School near the family ranch and graduated from Missoula County High School in 1945.

While attending the University of Montana, she met and married Angier Shelden on Feb. 15, 1947, in Missoula, Mont. They were married for 56 years.

After Mr. Shelden's graduation in 1950, the young couple moved to Dodson, Mont., where Mr. Shelden taught and coached. The family moved to Great Falls, East Helena, and eventually Helena, Mont.

When her daughter was a preschooler, Mrs. Shelden contracted polio. As part of her therapy, she was advised to do exercises in warm water. She took therapy at Shodair Children's Hospital in Helena, Mont., and began helping children who were also affected by polio.

In the coming years, she would become a Red Cross instructor for lifeguarding, water safety instructor, adaptive water instructor and CPR and first aid instructor. She was always involved in her children's lives and community and volunteered with Scouts, Campfire and Sunday school and was a camp counselor for both YMCA and church camps.

For many years Mrs. Shelden taught arts and crafts classes at the Helena YMCA, weaved for the city recreation center and taught adaptive aquatics for Helena Public Schools.

In the 1970s and 1980s, she returned to college and attended Carroll College and Fort Wright College of the Holy Names in Spokane, Wash. In 1980, Carroll College awarded her their service to community award. She graduated from Fort Wright College with a degree in psychology and sociology in 1981. After graduation, Mr. and Mrs. Shelden moved to Glendive, Mont., where Mrs. Shelden worked at Eastmont Human Services.

In 1985, she accepted a position as aquatic therapist at the Wyoming State Training School in Lander. After retiring from the state training school, she began teaching water aerobics at the Lander City Pool and continued teaching until April 2012.

Mrs. Shelden was a Christian and always involved in the life of her church. The couple were charter members of Plymouth Congregational Church of Helena. She was still substituting in Sunday school into her 80s and was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church of Lander at the time of her death.

Mrs. Shelden continued to volunteer with the American Red Cross, was a member of the American Legion auxiliary, the Fremont County Historical Society, the VFW auxiliary, and served on the Lander Senior Center Board of Directors for more than a decade. She was active in the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs and served as president of the Rebekah Assembly of Wyoming in 2000. She was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the American Red Cross in 2000.

She is survived by her daughter, Lucinda Shelden of Lander; son Jay Shelden of Helena, Mont.; sister Kathryn Layne of Missoula, Mont.; sister-in-law Laura Vie of Mercedes, Texas; numerous nephews and nieces. great-nephews and nieces.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Angier Jay Shelden; brothers James, Joseph and his wife Elsie and Richard; sisters Anna Stewart, Virginia Murphy, Marian Goforth and Charlotte Mounce; and baby sisters Lucy, Jessie and Frieda McCauley.

Memorials may be made to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 586, Cheyenne, WY 82001 or any other organization of the donor's choosing. Services are under the direction of the Hudson's Funeral Home of Lander.

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