BRIGHAM CITY - Chelsa Helen Fitzgerald Shigley, passed away on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at her home in Brigham City, Utah, just two and a half months after Ted, her husband of 72 years.
She was born on September 2, 1920 at East St. Louis, Illinois to Charles Edward and Helen Koeller Fitzgerald. Her father was a veteran of World War I and an electrician who worked in the mining industry and had his own business. They lived in several locations including East St. Louis, Winkle and Belleville, Illinois, where Chelsa attended the local schools graduating from Belleville Township High School in St. Clair County in June 1937. She attended Business College and became an excellent clerk-stenographer working at several locations, prior to being employed at Scott Field, Illinois.
She worked there until her family moved to Dayton, Ohio, where she was employed at Wright Field in the technical services branch. A highlight of her service there was meeting the famous Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and typing a letter for him.Chelsa attended ground school training for a private Pilot's license at the Dayton Power and Light Building in Dayton. At the top of her class she was awarded several hours of flight training as the result of her premium grades.
There she met her future husband, Ted Shigley. Following a whirlwind romance they were married on Saturday, September 20, 1941 in the Yellow Springs, Ohio Presbyterian church by the Reverend Howard Lee. They lived in Yellow Springs during the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor after which Ted went to work at Wright Field. In April 1942, they moved to Mobile, Alabama to work at Brookley Field.
Chelsa worked in the personnel department until she retired in 1955 to raise her family. She became a member of the Government Street Methodist Church in Mobile until they built a new home in Edgewood Park and transferred their membership to Fulton Heights Methodist Church. In Edgewood Park she was one of the leaders of the Civic Club. She and her husband were instrumental in founding the Dauphin Island Parkway Branch of the Mobile Public Library. In 1965, when Brookley Air Force Base was scheduled for closing, they moved to Utah where Ted worked at Hill Air Force Base. They moved west with their three sons, leaving their two married daughters in Alabama. Settling in Brigham City, the family joined Aldersgate United Methodist Church, where Chelsa served many offices including Chairperson of Trustees, President to United Methodist Women, Financial Secretary and on several boards and committees.
She raised her three sons and guided them through school while maintaining her home and following a hobby of ceramic art, creating dozens of beautiful ceramic pieces. Chelsa sewed clothes for her family and embroidered many beautiful decorative pieces. She also loved raising flowers with roses being her favorite. She served as a DeMolay Mother and as a volunteer for the Acts VI Soup Kitchen. She and Ted traveled extensively throughout the United States including, Alaska and Hawaii, in addition to Canada, Mexico, Europe, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Korea and Fiji.
She is survived by her children, Lynne Richardson of Tuscaloosa, AL ; Sandra Oxley of Mobile, AL; Charles R. (Kathy) of Sandy, Utah; Dr. John K. (Dr. Sally) of Ogden, Utah; Ted Jr. (Amy) of Edmonds, WA; Grandsons, Bill Torres of New York City, Chris Richardson (Meg) of Birmingham, AL; Jason Shigley (Mandi) of Midvale, Utah and Joseph (Alisha) of West Jordan, Utah. Granddaughters, Cindy (Eric) Kirkland of Tuscaloosa, AL and Hannah and Sarah Shigley of Ogden, Utah. Great Grandchildren, Caroline and Ellis George Kirkland of Tuscaloosa, AL and Noah, Arianna, Ashton, Jayden, Landon and Mia of Utah. Chelsa was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, husband, Ted and Grandson Jonathan Shigley.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made in Chelsa's name to Best Friends Pet Sanctuary, PO Box 315, Kanab, Utah 84741-0315 or Acts VI Soup Kitchen in Brigham City, Utah.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 2 p.m. at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 235 East 850 South, Brigham City, Utah. Visitation will be held on Friday, December 6, 2013 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Gillies Funeral Chapel, 634 East 200 South, Brigham City, Utah. Interment will be in the Brigham City Cemetery.
Email condolences to: www.gilliesfuneralchapel.com