John C. Shelley passed away with his family by his side on August 9, 2018 at Azura Memory Care. He was born on January 7, 1931 in Mattoon, WI to Ora (Oosterhaus) and Charles Manley Shelley. He attended Hutchins School and the Mattoon public school system, graduating in 1948.

After spending the next year at home helping on the farm and working various jobs in Milwaukee, he enrolled in Langlade County Normal School. As he finished the two year program in 1951, the Korean War was in progress, and he was drafted August 1, 1951. After completing basic training and cook and baker school, he was assigned to Co. B 72nd Tank Battalion 2nd Infantry Division and embarked by boat to Inchon, South Korea.

John married Beverly Mueller on February 5, 1955 at the Lutheran parsonage in Bowler, WI. They first met in grade school and later reconnected at a wedding dance in 1953. John began his teaching career in Bowler. After completing his bachelor’s degree at UW-Stevens Point in 1957, he moved his young family to Eau Claire to begin a 29 year career with the Eau Claire Area School District. After teaching at Bartlett and Roosevelt and completing a master’s degree at UW-Stout, he became principal at Brackett and Cleghorn, retiring in 1986. Among John’s many lifelong friends were not only former teachers and administrators, but the cooks, custodians, and secretaries as well.

John enjoyed fishing, hunting, golfing, camping, traveling, the many summers in Holcombe, and winters he and Beverly spent in Arizona. Family gatherings and events were of the utmost importance to him. He rarely missed a sporting event or dance recital.

He was hardworking, creative, innovative, and meticulous about how things should be done. The time spent at his land in Augusta yielded years of enjoyment cutting wood for firewood and tapping trees for maple syrup. The oak trees resulted in many treasures for his family as well. The remodeling of his family’s home in Altoona was an ingenious masterpiece. By knocking out a few cement blocks and with the use of a conveyor from a corn picker he purchased for $10, he dug out the remaining square footage of the foundation by hand. With Beverly’s help carrying cement blocks down the stairs, they now had a finished basement complete with a fireplace, a room they enjoyed for many years.

He was a longtime member of Altoona United Methodist Church and American Legion Post 550 in Brackett, a member of the WI Retired Educators’ Association, and a devout Red Cross blood donor.

John is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Beverly, and four daughters: Kathleen Shelley, Linda (Jim) Martell, Cynthia (Brian) Neill, and Pamela (Jeff) Ploeger; grandchildren Scott (Lami) Harsh, Mike (Erin) Harsh, Mackenzie (Matt) Allemann, John (Casey) Martell, Joy Martell, Brenton Martell, Tanya (Kyle) Styczynski, Erin Ploeger, and Justine Ploeger; ten great grandchildren; one sister, Emily Garton, and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Howard and sisters Ellen, Janet, Alice, Audrey, and Ethel, and a great-grandchild.

The family would like to thank Marshfield Clinic, especially Dr. Sandager and Julie, St. Joseph’s Hospice, and the staff at Azura Memory Care for his care.

Funeral services will be held Friday, August 17, 2018 at Altoona United Methodist Church, 428 1st Street West. Visitation will begin at 9:30 with the funeral to follow at 11:00. Burial will be in Resthaven Cemetery in Eau Claire.


  1. Mr. Shelly is a big part of the reason I am a teacher and a principal. Thank you so much for sharing your gifts with your staff and students!

  2. I am sorry for your loss. Mr. Shelley was my 6th grade teacher at Roosevelt school back in 73. He was a very good teacher and a nice man. He was the first male teacher I had.

  3. Mr. Shelly was my 6th. grade teacher at Bartlett School in 1966. I recall that he was a good teacher and firm but fair. I also recall his old Harley Davidson motor cycle that he rode to school in the warm months of the year. May he rest in peace.

  4. Mr. Shelley was my principal at Brackett when I was a kid. I remember him as a very positive male role model.
    After my military service I became commander of the Brackett American Legion and I regarded John as a comrade. He will be missed by everyone at the Brackett American Legion

    Respectfully, Brian Flaskrud Post Commander

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