Pete Shelton passed away peacefully on March 3, 2020. Born October 11, 1938, in Franklin, N.J., he was the third of 4 boys born to Helen Walsh and Robert Shelton of Franklin, and was a devoted son to them until their passing. He lived in Franklin all 81+ years of his life. He was a proud 1956 graduate of Franklin High School, and was always active with its alumni and reunions. He attended the University of Delaware, playing Center for the football team “when they invented the wing T !” He was in the Army ROTC program, and graduated with an engineering degree 5 years later in 1961, for reasons other than the ones he told his children. He then served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army, where he earned his Ranger badge because he was one tough son of a gun. For a period of that service he was stationed in Germany, which proved a formative experience for him. He honed his leadership skills with the Army and his song leading skills in the beer tents, benefitting generations of Franklin Firemen, children and grandchildren, who can all do Jody call and sing on demand.
He married Elizabeth “Betsy” Pierson of Newton on his return from the Army in 1965, whom he was married to for 55 years. They were blessed with four children. He worked his entire career for the New Jersey State Department of Transportation as a Civil Engineer, overseeing the construction of the Route 287 to completion in New York before retiring. He found more people attended construction meetings when he provided hot dogs, soda and jokes, which he did routinely. He had a tremendous work ethic, never calling out sick except every March 17.
Among his many and varied associations over the years, he was proud to play football for the Franklin Miners “semi pro”football team, was a member of the Franklin Fire Department, the American Legion and the Rangers Association. He was a Little League baseball coach, and everyone on Pete’s team always got to play. He played Santa for church groups, with an authentic belly and laugh. He was a Eucharistic minister and parish councilman of Immaculate Conception Church, and one of the original members of the Wallkill Valley Regional High School Booster Club. But his greatest service was to his family. He never missed a kid’s football, basketball or field hockey game, track meet, swim meet, play, or awards ceremony. And he usually brought cookies for everyone.
He loved to travel and loved an adventure, and saw much of Europe and the United States over his years. He encouraged his kids to do the same, and to always try the local food. He was a man of many talents. He tapped his engineering skills to create fantastic Halloween costumes for his kids every year, sometimes with moving parts. He loved wearing costumes as much as making them, and once dressed as King Neptune for the Franklin Swim Team picnic, competing in the parents meet while wearing it. When he wasn’t wearing a costume, he wore a hat, and amassed quite a varied collection of them. He spent a year trying to learn to play the bagpipes. He didn’t succeed. He was an amateur winemaker, at which he did succeed. He was the original McGuiver, and never found anything he couldn’t fix or rig, or at least try to, if there was duct tape or a glue gun at hand. He had eagle eye vision and was known to be able to spot a gold toothpick on the side of a highway at 65 mph and a gas cap for a winnebago lost during a family road trip. Mostly, he loved a good party, he loved to sing, and he never let the facts get in the way of a good story. To know Pete was to love him. He spread joy and jokes wherever he went.
He was predeceased by his parents, and his brothers Ned and Jim Shelton. He is survived by his wife Betsy, his brother Bob Shelton, and his children: Pamela Andersen and husband Eric of Madison, NJ, Peter Shelton II and his wife Lori of Cherry Hill, Karen Shelton and her husband Joe McManus of Belmar, and Ken Shelton and his wife Kiersten of Meridian Mississippi. He was a beloved Pop Pop to 13 grandkids, Ben, Will, Helen, Margaret and Tim Andersen of Madison; Trey, Charlie, Christina and Philip Shelton of Cherry Hill; Madelyn and John McManus of Belmar, and Andrew and Sean Shelton of Meridian. He was affectionately known as “Uncle Pete” to more than 25 nieces and nephews, as well as countless others completely unrelated to him.
The family will receive their friends at F. John Ramsey Funeral Home, One main Street, Franklin, NJ on Friday, March 6, 2020, from 2-4 & 7-9 p.m. Funeral from the funeral home on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 9:15 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at Immaculate Conception RC Church, Franklin, NJ. Entombment to follow at Immaculate Conception Mausoleum, Hardyston Twp., NJ. Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers to Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, 99 Sparta Avenue, Newton, NJ 07860 or a favorite charity would be appreciated. Information and condolences can be found at www.fjohnramseyfuneralhome.com