Cover photo for Shelley Ruth (Elliott)  Thompson's Obituary
Shelley Ruth (Elliott)  Thompson Profile Photo
1949 Shelley 2023

Shelley Ruth (Elliott) Thompson

September 26, 1949 — November 8, 2023

Bartlett, Tennessee

Shelley Ruth Thompson, née Elliott, lost her long battle with Alzheimer’s on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 8, 2023. Shelley passed away peacefully with Danny, Justin, Vicki and Doug by her side.

Shelley was born in Memphis to John and Linda Elliott. Shelley attended Coleman and Treadwell. She graduated from Nicholas Blackwell/Bartlett High School in 1967. When Shelley was in high school, she met the love of her life, Danny Thompson. Danny proposed to Shelley on May 26, 1969, and they hoped to be wed on that day a year later. Instead, they married on January 10, 1970, before Danny left for a 12 month tour to Vietnam.

After Danny’s return from service, Shelley and Danny lived on Jackson Avenue at the Andrew Jackson Apartments while Danny completed his BA from Memphis State.  They bought their first house in Bartlett, where they welcomed their first born, Justin Elliott Thompson (1974), and their second child, Vicki Melissa Thompson (1977). Shelley was very active in the lives of her young children and constantly advocated for them. She served as their room mother and co-president of the PTA with Danny at Ellendale Elementary. She also was a Cub Scout den leader for Justin and a Girl Scout troop leader when Vicki was a Brownie.  Shelley volunteered to lead the puppet ministry at Ellendale Methodist Church, where she sourced the material for the plays and made the puppets herself.

An incredible seamstress, Shelley sewed her own wedding dress and made clothes for her children, including every Halloween costume they ever wore. Shelley also sewed crayon holders and curtains for Justin’s children, Clara and Adele. She was part of a quilting club. For a while, she dabbled in woodworking, where she and her friends rescued scrap wood from cabinet shops to make holiday yard decorations. Shelley loved every type of hobby, spending hours with close friends, Linda Marchetta and Margaret McGrory, pursuing any new interest.

As a young mother, Shelley returned to Memphis State University and earned a degree in education, graduating first in a class of 400. She taught first graders for 17 years, starting at Millington Elementary and ending her career at Rivercrest Elementary. Shelley was blessed with many friends and was always very social. She developed many lifelong friends in high school, including Beth Williams, née Austin, Nancy Gookin, née Thornton, and Beverly Williams. Her circle of friends also included friends from the Andrew Jackson Apartments, work, her children’s school, her community, and teaching. She had fun with them as much as she could - joining them for lunches, outings, Farkel parties, card games, and surprise parties. Shelley was available whenever anyone needed a friend.

Shelley was the quintessential grandmother to Clara and Adele. Shelley held “grandparents’ camp” in the summers, where they would make crafts, play games, go on outings to Chuck E. Cheese and Putt Putt, and participate in programming at the Ellendale Community Center. Shelley brightened her grandchildren’s lives by attending grandparents’ day at school, their concerts and recitals, and chaperoning their field trips.

Shelley lived as full of a life as she possibly could until she was overtaken by Alzheimer’s. While the last years of her life were incredibly hard, she was comforted by the daily care she received from Danny, her devoted husband. Shelley leaves behind her husband Danny Lee Thompson, her son Justin Elliott Thompson and Justin's wife Amber Isom-Thompson, her daughter Vicki Melissa Carriker and Vicki's husband Doug Carriker, her grandchildren Clara and Adele Thompson, her sister Vicki Goolsby, and many, many dear friends.

There will be a celebration of life for friends and family on May 26, 2024. If you wish to give anything in her memory, please donate to St. Jude Memorial Giving, 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105-9959 or Hilarity for Charity (HFC) .

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shelley Ruth (Elliott) Thompson, please visit our flower store.

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