Remembering a kind and caring man: memorial service for Derek Shelly to be held Nov. 30

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He will be remembered as a beloved minister, friend to many, passionate actor and director, community supporter, and lover of the outdoors.

In online comments following news of Derek Shelly’s sudden death on November 11, he was described as kind and gentle, caring, and full of life. Several said that his death will be a huge loss for this community.

Many knew him in his role as pastor at Trinity United Church, where the Rev. S. Derek Shelly served the congregation from 2003 until he retired in 2018, 40 years after being ordained. He had been a minister in other parts of Ontario and in Nova Scotia previously, and before that was a teacher.

His support for the Huntsville community extended beyond the church walls. He was a mainstay in Huntsville’s community theatre scene and was a passionate advocate for end-of-life care.

In a previous conversation with Doppler’s Laura MacLean, he said, “What makes any community is the people… Even when we disagree, whether it be about politics or whatever, there’s still a sense that you’re a part of this community. It’s a wonderful thing and I’ve felt it right from the get-go. And despite any differences we might have, the bottom line is we are a community. We’re supportive and caring for each other. It’s a big town but a small town with that feeling.”

Reverend Derek Shelly leads a celebration of life

Reverend Derek Shelly leads a celebration of life at the 2018 Hike for Hospice (Dawn Huddlestone)

Derek Shelly in a rehearsal for Sex Please, We’re Sixty (Huntsville Theatre Company)

Derek enjoyed a trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park with his grandson last year. (Photo courtesy of Derek Shelly)

Derek enjoyed a trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park with his grandson in 2016 (Courtesy of Derek Shelly)

He is survived by his children Derek (Ruth Dunley), Aaron (Amanda Van Bommel), and Keri-Lynn; his grandchildren Olivia, Regin, Grace, Rose, Mekenna, and Maura; his lifelong friend and mother of his children, Heather Fraser; and his siblings Ted, Marie, John, and Fred and their families. He is predeceased by his parents Sidney and Kathleen (Mathias), and his brother Brian.

A Memorial Service will be held at Trinity United Church, 33 Main Street East, Huntsville on Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 1 p.m. A reception will follow in Trinity Hall.

In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for donations to Hospice Huntsville or the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. In Derek’s memory, his family also encourages everyone to support local community theatre. Please go to see a play (or several) and think of him.

Related:
Have a little faith: Meet Derek Shelly
Trinity United prepares to say goodbye to longtime minister

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2 Comments

  1. Derek was a truly fine person, a friend to all regardless of your church or lack thereof. Active in the community, especially through Hospice Huntsville, and Community Theatre, which is where we basically got to know and appreciate Derke. He was a great supporter off Huntsville, and his death is a huge loss to the Town. I trust God has need of him in the hereafter!

  2. Derek created a welcome atmosphere at Trinity. It was sad to see him retire last year but even more heartbreaking that he is no longer here, doing the things he loved. You will forever be in my thoughts Derek.

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