Marguerite Shelton

Marguerite Shelton

CHAMPAIGN – Marguerite Morton Shelton, 91, of Louisville, Ky., and a longtime resident of Champaign-Urbana, died Wednesday, April 3, 2013.

She was born May 31, 1921, to Elmer H. and Media L. Morton.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 34 years, James G. Shelton; a son, Mark; and her siblings, Opal Schaefer, Geraldine Remmers, Elma Fallon, Garnet Hacker, Helen Balkoveltz, Vera Osterman and Donald Eck Morton.

She is survived by three children, Marilyn Jamie Benton (Eugene) of Irvine, Calif., Joyce Carolyn Taylor (Allen) of Oregon City, Ore., and the Rev. James Glenn Shelton II of Louisville, Ky.; 11 grandchildren, Allyson Sauter, Jamie Benton, Lynleigh Sato, Jenny Warren, Valerie Owens, Melody, Neil, Robert and Sam Taylor, Matthew Shelton and Amanda Stanley; and seven great-grandchildren, Annabel and Gwendolyn Sauter, Brandon Ferguson, Cliff Warren, Walker Taylor, Joss Owens and Jack Shelton.

A 1939 graduate of Champaign High School, she received the BM and MM from the School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During those years she was a paid soloist at First Presbyterian Church, Champaign, and joined the Urbana chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI), a musical fraternity for women college students and alumnae.

She was also an active member of the Evening Etude/Mozart Music Club, serving as choral director for many years.

She was choir director at First Baptist Church, Champaign, First Christian Church, Ogden, and for 22 years, minister of music at Temple Baptist Church (TBC), Champaign.

She was a public school music teacher in several communities, with her longest tenure in Villa Grove. The children's performances included songs written by her and by her students.

She founded the Champaign-Urbana Civic Junior Singers (1978-1982), which performed three musicals she wrote: "Chambana," depicting events in the history of the twin cities; "Land Grant," depicting events in the history of UIUC; and "Lincoln, the Rail Splitter," depicting events in the life of Abraham Lincoln, which is housed in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, and the UI Library System. Her last musical was written about the stained-glass windows crafted by her late husband for the sanctuary at TBC.

After retiring, she traveled to Israel and many countries in Asia and Europe, and became activity director at several southern California retirement homes.

In the early 1970s, she co-founded a long-standing prayer group at TBC; when she moved to Louisville, she started one in her new church.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society ( or SAI (One Tunnel Road, Asheville, NC 28805).

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today (Thursday, April 11) at Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy, and from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, April 12, at Temple Baptist Church, 1100 Broadmoor Drive, Champaign. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, April 12, at Temple Baptist Church.