Donald Lee Shelton, age 72 years of Berrien Center, Michigan son, brother, uncle, artist, nature lover, and well-known fisherman died peacefully at 10:18 a.m. on Tuesday morning, January 4, 2022 at Spectrum Health Lakeland Medical Center in Saint Joseph, Michigan following a brief illness.
He was born on October 15, 1949 in Niles, Michigan as the first of twelve children of Ronald Ethan and Anna Louise (Nitz) Shelton, and began his education at Saint Mary’s School in Niles. He was graduated from Berrien Springs High School, and earned an Associates Degree from Lake Michigan College, with a focus on his love of art. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1970, completing his obligation in 1974, and was Honorably Discharged as a Veteran of the Vietnam Era. He returned to Niles and was employed at Shelton’s Wholesale Company as a produce buyer from March of 1977 until his retirement in July of 2021.
Don was an avid hunter and fisherman who loved nature in every season. He was a former club president of the Michiana Walleye Association and enjoyed the fellowship of monthly meetings, supporting the DNR program to stock the Saint Joseph River with thousands of walleye fingerlings, and the annual kids fishing derby to teach area kids to fish successfully. He competed in fishing tournaments throughout the region including Canada, but loved to fish in local waters such as Lake Maxinkuckee at Culver, Indiana where he would land bluegill and crappie. He was quite successful, and enjoyed sharing his catch with family and friends, especially his brother, Dave, knowing that Dave – and other family and friends - would clean and prepare the fish, and invite Don to dinner.
His interest in the outdoors and nature led him to evenings on the trail around the family’s lake to watch the deer come out of the woods.
He also enjoyed art, practicing in various media including painting and pottery.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ron on June 28, 2013, and Anna just five months ago on August 2, 2021. He was also preceded in death by a sister, Denise Shelton in 1988, and two brothers, Dale Shelton in 1976 and Tom Shelton in 1992.
Surviving family includes his siblings, Sandra (& Bill) Brant of Benton Harbor, Michigan, Daniel (& Jeanne) Shelton of Berrien Springs, Paul Shelton of Niles, Mary (& Stewart) Gruver of Stevensville, Michigan, David (& Marie) Shelton of Berrien Center, Douglas (& Linda) Shelton of Berrien Springs, Ted (& Brenda) Shelton of Berrien Springs, and Timothy (& Chastity) Shelton of Buena Vista, Colorado; forty-eight nieces and nephews of several generations; and a great circle of wonderful friends.
The family of Don Shelton will receive relatives and friends on Friday, January 14, 2022 beginning at Noon at the North Lake Event Center, 10577 Jones Road, Berrien Springs followed at 2:00 p.m. by the Catholic Prayer Service read by the Rev. Christian Johnston of Saint Mary Catholic Church in Niles. The service will conclude with some memories by a member of the family, and the Full Military Honors conducted by the United States Navy Honor Guard, assisted by American Legion Post #51 of Buchanan. Memories will continue to be shared over a meal at the North Lake Center.
Contributions in memory of Don may be made to the Michiana Walleye Association, 13040 Day Road, Mishawaka, Indiana, 46545; https://www.facebook.com/Michiana-Walleye-Association-216588518390679/. Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Online condolences may be left at:
Don clearly enjoyed a simple, basic life: family, working with family, and fishing; and he enjoyed helping others to find that same joy, especially the younger members of his family.
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Michiana Walleye Association
13040 Day Road, Mishawaka IN 46545