10/5/1943 ~ 7/14/2023
Ivan J Shelley was born on October 5, 1943 at home in Mountainville, Utah. He was the sixth of nine children born to John William Shelley and Fannie Fay Bennett, though he was only minutes away from being their fifth child. His twin brother Ervin fondly asserts that Ivan is the younger of the two.
Ivan met Lela Dawn Mower during high school when she just happened to be on a date with a different gentleman caller. This would not deter a determined young Ivan and a week later Ivan and Dawn had started going steady.
It wasn’t long before Ivan left to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. For two years he was assigned to the Eastern States Mission. It is said that he had a mischievous streak, occasionally visiting Canada unbeknownst to his leaders, but he was a faithful and diligent missionary and returned home having served with honor.
Ivan had asked Dawn to wait for him and they wrote to each other the entirety of his mission. Once he returned, Dawn and Ivan picked up where they left off, albeit in a long-distance relationship for a few months while Dawn lived in Salt Lake and Ivan remained at home in Mountainville. They would see each other any time Dawn could get a ride home with her friend in the back of an old Volkswagen. It was not a smooth ride, but in her words, “it was worth it.”
A brief courtship ended and the engagement ensued during an evening car ride together when Ivan proposed with one of those “Open the glove compartment…” deals. Ivan was not the romantic type, at least not in the traditional sense, but there was a ring and the rest is history. Ivan married Lela Dawn Mower on July 15, 1966 in the Manti Temple. Ivan loved his wife, often holding her hand in the car, painting portraits of her, and sending flowers for every anniversary. He was also a tease and pushed her buttons just enough to keep her on her toes and make her smile.
Once married, they started their family and over the course of their marriage welcomed nine children. Above all else, Ivan’s greatest joy in life came from his family. He cherished his role as a loving husband, devoted father, and doting grandfather. He often spent Sunday afternoons at home standing in front of the fireplace, with his family gathered around the living room. He had a way with children and especially loved playing with his favorite grandchild, Suzy Q (an endearing nickname he gave all of his granddaughters). He also acted as a part-time grandpa to the neighborhood kids.
Hard work was the hallmark of Ivan’s life and he loved working with his hands. He held positions as a mechanic at Painter Motors in Nephi and Gunnison Implement in Gunnison. Later, Ivan worked for his father-in-law on the family dairy farm in Oak Creek. Ivan ended up buying the dairy in 1981 and also worked part time at Express Autoparts. When his dairy days were done, he went to work for Carlton Excavation driving trucks and operating heavy machinery such as excavators. He brought his work ethic to each of his jobs, and continued working each day even after he officially retired.
In his free time Ivan enjoyed taking apart tractors, vehicles, his hair trimmer, his iPhone – anything that could be opened with a screwdriver. He could (usually) put these all back together in better shape. He was a tinkerer and had a mind for mechanical systems. He loved to understand how things worked and always looked for things to repair and improve. His curiosity never slowed with the advancement of technology. In his later years he could be found tinkering with his tablets, smart phones, drones, digital cameras, and his laptop.
He was a talented painter known for his landscapes and barnyard scenes. He returned to painting in his later years after a long artistic hiatus and much of his work hangs in the homes of his children, grandchildren, and friends. Like the masters, he took a protege (one of his Suzy Qs) though it is said that he would occasionally help out by painting over her drafts.
Ivan was always a canine’s best friend, and was rarely seen without a dog following him around. Even other people’s dogs found his company preferable to their owners.
He had a quiet strength and was a soft spoken man. He rarely raised his voice, but that didn’t stop him from standing up for his beliefs. He had a gift for comedic timing, always knowing just when and how to insert a witty comment or a playful tease.
Ivan had a sweet tooth, you could always count on him to sneak you the good popsicles, pull a lifesaver out of his coat pocket on Sundays, and share from his stash of cookies. Ivan also enjoyed a good meal and always swapped out his small spoon for a big one so he could eat more jello in each mouthful. Towards the end of his life he couldn’t get around as well as he used to, but he would move to make sure he wasn’t late for dinner.
Ivan found great fulfillment in serving in different capacities in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He served in two bishoprics and a Sunday School presidency. Some of his favorite church callings were serving in the primary and nursery. He spent two years as an institute missionary at Snow College. Ivan spent six years serving with his wife as an Ordinance Worker at the Manti Temple. He continued to serve for two years after Dawn could no longer serve for a total of eight years. He found great joy and fulfillment serving in the House of Lord.
Ivan passed away on July 14, 2023 at the age of 79. He was preceded in death by his parents John W. Shelley and Fannie Fay Shelley, sister Melba (Don) Hill, and son Joshua Shelley. He is survived by his wife Lela Dawn Shelley, his siblings Lloyd (Virginia) Shelley, Bennett (Sandy) Shelley, Ross (Nadene) Shelley, Ervin (Loretta) Shelley, Lowell (Barbie) Shelley, Hal (Becky) Shelley, Louis (Nancy), his children Jeffrey (Melanie) Shelley, Lisa (Michael) Lund, Randall (Chalyece) Shelley, Clayton (Stephanie) Shelley, Bradley (Jennifer) Shelley, Benjamin (Jennifer) Shelley, Thomas (Sarah) Shelley, Rian (Jennifer) Shelley and his thirty-five grandchildren and six great grandchildren with another one on the way.
The viewing will be held Tuesday July 18, 2023 from 6-8pm and Wednesday July 19, 2023 from 10:00-10:45 am at the rock church in Fairview on the corner of 100 east and 100 north. The funeral will follow on Wednesday July 19, 2023 at 11:00am at the same location. Interment will be in the Fairview City Cemetery.