Shelley, Gertrude F. (Welch), Formerly of Newton, Wellesley and Beacon Hill
- Deceased's name: Gertrude Faith Shelley (Welch)
- Date: June 11, 2012
- Hometown: Newton, Florida, Wellesley, South Dartmouth, Beacon Hill
- Survived by: Those who survived her are not mentioned in the obituary.
Gertrude was born the youngest of seven children in Newton, where she grew up in a house built by her father. She frequently related her affectionate admiration for her parents and their values, citing such examples as her father's insistence that Boston's historical sites, as well as the Liberty Bell and the monuments of Washington DC be visited by her children before farther afield.
Gertrude graduated from Newton High School, excelled scholastically and gained championships in track and field and basketball. She then studied art at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. There, she acquired knowledge and interest which were to enrich her whole life. Gertrude met her husband, William Francis Shelley, while working at a Boston firm as a statistician. They married just after Pearl Harbor and moved to Florida where William entered the Naval Officer Training Program. There, Gertrude volunteered to run a thrift shop for the benefit of the soldier's families, searching out furniture and needed items.
Returning to Boston after the war, the couple lived on Commonwealth Ave. and Gertrude furthered her knowledge of the city she considered the "best in the world." When children came, there was a move to Wellesley to a house in a still semi-rural area where for a time there were small livestock and fowl to manage.
But horticulture and gardening were to be her passion throughout her years there and beyond. Later, there was a 100 year old summer house to restore in South Dartmouth, MA. There, she was to become a force in land conservation and environmental matters, working with the Audoban Society and the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust.
After Williams's death, Gertrude made her home on Beacon Hill, where she lived happily for nearly forty years. Having enjoyed wide travel with her husband, she pursued international travel on her own, often with Boston MFA tours. From these travel experiences she built upon her interest in art and art history, and gained friendships. Several trips were strenuous and even dangerous, featuring an earthquake, flooding and international political upheaval. She valued the open door to wide human experience her trips afforded her.
In her later decades, Gertrude greatly expanded the philanthropic pursuits she had begun, addressing the needs of international organizations such as Smile Train and Doctors Without Borders. At home she was concerned about American Veterans, Catholic Charities, American Indian charities, animal and environmental advocacy, varied medical research, local hospitals, schools and colleges and Boston parks. Very locally, she supported such causes as the Pine St. Inn, Rosie's Place, and the RFK Child Action Corps incorporated and others. Of course the Boston MFA was always a major focus of her philanthropic work, and she founded an endowment fund for students of its school.
Gertrude was strongly independent and was not inclined to identify with groups, other than her large extended family and the Red Sox Nation.
Visiting hours were at the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477 Washington St. (RT. 16) WELLESLEY, on Friday June 22 from 10 to 10:45 a.m., followed by a funeral service in the funeral home at 10:45 a.m. Relatives and friends were kindly invited. Private interment was at Woodlawn Cemetery, Wellesley. A reception was held at the Henderson House, 99 Westcliff Rd., Weston, following the private interment. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Gertrude's memory to The 20 Speen St. Framingham, MA 01701. Arrangements were made by George F. Doherty & Sons, Wellesley, 781 235 4100.
For online guestbook, visit gfdoherty.com.