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Shirley Jean Routten Gellis

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Shirley Jean Routten Gellis Obituary
HAMPTON - Shirley Jean Routten Gellis, 73, passed away on June 19, 2013 after a diagnosis of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer. She was born on June 1, 1940 in Newport News, Virginia to Lawrence Tyler Routten, Sr. and Lula Thomas Routten. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Lawrence "Tyler" Routten, Jr. Shirley spent her childhood in Fox Hill, Hampton, until 1960 when she left home to attend Radford College. In 1962, she moved to New York City to attended New York University for one year. She graduated in 1965 from Rutgers University, with a Bachelor of Art Degree in English. Later, she attended the Brooklyn Museum Art School, for one year as a full-time student. Shirley lived in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island, New York for 45 years, Pursing painting and weaving. In 1981, she married Willard L. Gellis of New York. After the death of her mother in 2007, Shirley and Willard moved to Hampton to live in her mother's house in the Fox Hill Area of Hampton. She had many happy memories of her childhood in the old Fox Hill of the forties and fifties. Shortly after Shirley's return to Hampton, she became one of the five petitioners of The Buckroe Beach Bayfront Park Committee who fought against the over-devolvement of the beach area of Buckroe. Shirley was a strong supporter of the protection of the natural environment from pollution and over-development. Throughout Shirley's adult life, art was a strong interest. She was proud to be invited to exhibit her work in two annual shows of "Miniature Work" at The Charles H. Taylor Arts Center. She is survived by her husband Willard L. Gellis; sisters, Dorothy Routten Benthall of Hampton, and Ruth Routten of Lakewood, Colorado. Her nieces, Annette Watkins and her daughter, Christianna Nehs; Karla Watkins Quiggle (Dan) and her daughter, Molly Grace, both of Florida; Barbara "Bobbi" Routten Shipley of Hampton; her nephews Kevin M. Watkins and his children, Skyler, Brenden and Jocelyn of Florida; and James Routten of Hampton, and his children Melissa and Tyler. The family will receive friends on Sunday June 23rd 3:00p.m. to 4:00p.m. at R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home, 245 South Armistead Avenue, Hampton. A Funeral Service will be held at R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home on Monday June 24th at 2:00 p.m. with internment to follow in Clark Cemetery, Fox Hill area of Hampton. If you wish to make a contribution in lieu of flowers, Shirley suggested The Cat Corner, 85 Fulton Street, Hampton, VA 23663, or the Clark Cemetery Association - send contribution to Mary Lou Roaseau, 6 Riding Path, Hampton, VA 23669.
Published in Daily Press on June 22, 2013
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