Patricia Shell

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  • "I worked with Mrs Shell at the Houston Independent School..."
    - Teddy Barclay Pope
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    - Raylene Hawthorne
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    - Susan Fitzgerald
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    - George Scott
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    - Debbie Johnson
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Patricia M. Shell passed away early Friday, October 12, 2012 in Sugar Land, Texas at the age of 86. She was the oldest of five children, born to Werner and Vera Markey on the 4th of November 1925, in Jacksonville, Florida. She is preceded in death by her loving husband, Walter Rollin (Bill) Shell in 1997, son, Dr. Stephen Shell, in 1985, her two brothers, Kent and Devoe, and her sister, Ann Owens. She is survived by her sister, Marie Scott of California, children Andrew and wife Debra of Marble Falls; Clara Lynch and husband Sam of Montgomery; Caroline Holder and husband Bill of Humble; Catherine Hague and husband Alan of Richmond; Pamela Shell Polerstock and husband Bob of Kingwood; grandchildren Devon Shell Payne, Adam Shell, Kristen Shell, Stephanie Shell Condon, Matthew Lynch, Christopher Lynch, Stephen Hague, Sarah Hague, Addie Polerstock Chauvin, Davey Polerstock, and 9 great-grandchildren, all a great source of pride and delight to Pat.

On June 25, 1941, she married a tall, dashing soldier from Tennessee, Walter (Bill) Shell and they shared 51 years together. Their marriage began in Elizabethton, Tennessee where three of their five children were born. In 1955, Pat, Bill, Stephen, Andrew, and Clara moved to West Columbia, Texas. Within three years, both Caroline and Catherine were born. Pat and her family lived in West Columbia for 19 years. In 1974, Pat, Bill, Caroline, and Catherine moved to Houston where Pat worked for HISD until 1985, when Pat accepted the job of superintendent for Brazosport ISD and she and Bill moved to Lake Jackson. They lived in Lake Jackson until 2005 when Pat moved to Sugar Land to be closer to her girls. Pat Shell is best known for her work in education, not only in Texas, but also in the nation. She was thrust into her first teaching job during her senior year in high school due to a teacher shortage caused by the war. She graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and taught school in Tennessee prior to starting her family. She went back to the classroom in West Columbia when her youngest went to kindergarten. In the 60's, she began commuting weekly to Huntsville to pursue a Master's degree from Sam Houston State University. In 1968, she took a new path and left the classroom for her first public school administration position in Columbia-Brazoria ISD. It was during this time that she was part of the movement that brought about Public Law 94-142 and Title 1, programs that focus on educational services for special needs and low-income students. Pat worked in HISD from 1974-1985, serving as the Superintendent of Instruction from 1981-1985. During her tenure with HISD and as Superintendent of Brazosport ISD, she served as a member, or on the board, of many professional organizations. Texas Executive Women Educators, American and Texas Associations for School Administrators, Texas A&M Development Council, Governor's Task Force on the Texas Teacher Appraisal System and Career Ladder, and the Coalition for School Finance Reform are just a few of the organizations and activities in which she participated. In 1990, she was recognized for her years of leadership and contributions to education by being named Superintendent of the Year for Texas - the first woman to be awarded this honor. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sam Houston State University for her outstanding contribution to the children of Texas and her visionary leadership in education. Pat was a mentor to many and one of her most important contributions to education was the door she opened for other women to look beyond the classroom and into administration as their place in education. Community involvement was a very important part of Pat's life. She and Bill were active members of the Lake Jackson First United Methodist Church. They both were awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship from the Brazosport Rotary. She was awarded the Jane Long Pioneer Spirit Award by the Brazoria County Historical Museum and she served on the board of several community organizations, such as the Brazosport Arts and Science Center and the Nature Center and Planetarium. Pat took her role of matriarch of her large extended family very seriously. There was nothing she loved more than being at a gathering with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Her grandchildren always knew her as "Pat-Pat", and she enjoyed visiting with the youngest up to the oldest. She also loved visiting with all the pets, and her little dog, Molly, was a source of joy for her. Mother, friend, mentor - Pat Shell will be greatly missed by many. She touched many lives during her time on this earth. Her children are quite confident she is already organizing some grand celestial event in heaven. The family wishes to acknowledge and extend gratitude and appreciation to the staff of Colonial Oaks Assisted Living, Sugar Land, and to Silverado Hospice for all the love and care given to our mother. From the bottom of our hearts, Thank You. Visitation will be held at Lakewood Funeral Chapel, 98 North Dixie Drive, Lake Jackson, 979 297-6464 on Sunday, October 14, from 5:00-7:00. Funeral Services will be conducted at Lake Jackson First United Methodist Church, 404 Azalea Street, Lake Jackson, 77566, 979 297-3046 on Monday, October 15, at 10:00 A.M. She will be interred at Memorial Oaks in Houston. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the or to one of the following: The Pat Shell Scholarship Fund, c/o Ann Halstead, Texas Council of Women School Executives, 406 E. 11th Street, Austin, 78701-2617 or to the Houston Area Parkinson Society -

Published on from Oct. 12 to Oct. 25, 2012
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