Lester Eugene Shelton, age 82, son of Ray Lester Shelton and Doris Vee (Rauscher) Shelton, was born Dec. 27, 1939, in his maternal grandparents, George and Mary Rauscher’s home in Ellis Prairie, Mo. He passed away Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in his home that he purchased in 1967 from his paternal grandparents, William “Bill” and Icy Shelton in Ellis Prairie, Mo.
Lester was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Leonard and Tony Shelton; and stepdad Herman Mitchell. He is survived by his wife, Annetta; daughter LeAn (Steve) Stallcup of Bucyrus, Mo.; sons, Carl Eugene (Cheta) Shelton of Bucyrus, Mo., and William “Bill” Lester (Sarah) Shelton of Graff, Mo.; 10 grandchildren, Lacey, Colt, Levi, Coty, Chelsea, Camber, Henry, Claire, Ella and Carlee; 17 great-grandchildren and one on the way; step-brothers, Lloyd (Janis) Mitchell of Mountain Grove, MO, Johnnie (Lora) Mitchell of Warsaw, Mo.; sisters-in-law, Karen Shelton, Carolyn Shelton, Bonnie (Larry) Hayes and Betty Kirkwood; and a multitude of nephews, nieces, and cousins.
Lester grew up in and attended school at Pine Ridge and Ellis Prairie, Mo., where his parents ran the store and post office. There he and his brother’s family ties were strengthened as it was the place family and neighbors visited on a daily basis. Lester attended high school in Houston, Mo., for a couple years before leaving his sophomore year to go work with his uncle, Jack Shelton, in the log woods with a team of horses. That is where he earned a living for the next 40-plus years. Lester was saved at Ellis Prairie Baptist Church and later baptized by Milton Elmore at an early age at Dog’s Bluff due to Sand Shoals being washed out at the time. He married Annetta Kay Kirkwood on Dec. 24, 1965. To this union three children were born, LeAn, Carl and Bill.
Horses were a daily part of his life. He would log all week behind his team, compete in a horse pull on Saturday, then harness up again on Sunday for a wagon ride, either to cut through the woods to visit grandma and grandpa Kirkwood or join up with other family to take the kids to the river for a picnic or a swim. If he wasn’t logging his horses, he was plowing fields and gardens with them and picking up arrowheads along the way. Many summers he and his father-in-law and brother-in-law would mow and rake hay with their horses, not because they had to, but because they wanted to. Lester could tell you his horses’ names and bloodlines as quick as he could tell you who his 3rd and 4th cousins were. He was very proud of his pulling trophies and his Honorary FFA degree in 2009 for all his volunteer work with the FFA kids. Boonville Horse Auctions were big, taking grandkids camping with them, swapping harness and horse with the Amish and other old time horse people.
Perhaps his second passion was cooking on his old wood cook stove. None of us, not even Mom, knows his secret to making head cheese or ox tail soup. Every Halloween he had a big pot to feed his grandkids and great-grandkids when they came by trick-or-treating. Dad was very lucky that all his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids live close by, and he saw each of them on a regular basis. He always said he was “glad to see the little angels come but darn glad to see the little devils go home.” Dad had a wicked sense of humor, and no one was safe from that. The more he liked someone the worse it got. He was never without a joke or a story to tell.
The last three months while he was sick all of us honored his wishes to be at home. There was always someone there to help mom take care of him day and night. We will continue to honor him by keeping his grin, his constant teasing, and his love for us alive through stories and pictures. It’s never goodbye with him, but see ya later Dad, Grandpa and Pepaw.
A visitation for Lester is 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Evans Funeral Home. A funeral service for Lester is 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 20, 2022, at Ellis Prairie Baptist Church with the Rev. Gary Davenport and the Rev. Van Kirkwood officiating. Pallbearers were Colt Shelton, Levi Stallcup, Coty Shelton, Henry Shelton, Malachi Sawyer and Brian Campbell. Interment followed at Ellis Prairie Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Evans Funeral Home, Houston. Online condolences may be left at www.evansfh.com.