Deborah Jackson Shelton, 72, passed away Friday, July 11, 2014 after a courageous 3 year battle with pancreatic cancer. Debbie, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 22, 1942, to Richard Jackson and Helen Pfeiffer. She attended Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia where she graduated in 1964 with a B.A. with honors in History of Art. Following graduation she worked in New York City until her marriage to Charles Bascom Shelton III on July 3, 1965. Together with Charlie and their two daughters, they lived all over the world including San Diego, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Nashville, London and Tanzania.
The family moved to Atlanta in 1977 and Debbie began to contribute to the Atlanta community. She worked as a volunteer at The Alliance Theatre, where she chaired the first and fifth Dream Auction; and the High Museum of Art, where she chaired the 1989 Antiques Show. She was also President of the Hanover West Civic Association and Vice-Chair of the NPU-C. In 1978 she joined the staff of the Alliance Theatre Company/Atlanta Children's Theatre becoming Director of Youth Programs for eight years. She left the staff of the Theatre in 1986 and joined the Board of Directors in 1988. She served as Chair of Planned Giving for the Alliance Theatre, then Chairman of the Board, and was finally honored with an appointment as Life Director.
In 1989, Debbie became an active volunteer for the Olympic movement during the process of Atlanta's bid for the Olympic Games. She was a key member of the Atlanta Organizing Committee (AOC) and worked to win the 1996 Olympic Games bid. She then joined the staff of the Atlanta Organizing Committee for Olympic Games (ACOG). She served as Project Manager for the 1992 Flag Celebration, for the visit of the Queen of Norway in 1993, and for the Conference of the Nobel Laureates of Literature in 1995. In mid-1995 she was the Program Director for Venue Staffing, charged with the responsibility of overseeing the Venue Staffing Managers and their volunteers at each of the competition and non-competition venues. Following the Olympics, she served as the Vice-Chair of Hospitality for the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club.
Debbie was involved in many non-profit and charitable organizations in Atlanta, serving on the board of directors of the Alliance Theatre, Starlight Children's Foundation, Visiting Nurse/Hospice Atlanta, Alliance Franciase d' Atlanta, the YMCA of Greater Atlanta, ARCS Foundation (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists), The Cathedral of St. Philip and the Cathedral Music Program.
She led a life committed to friends and family. She led efforts to raise money for Alex Zahradnicek who is an aspiring Olympic skater. In 2010, she completed the program of Theological Education by Extension Education for Ministry through The Cathedral of St Philip and that church community became her second home. Debbie and Charlie enjoyed a love of travel and especially France spending many summers in St. Remy de Provence where they hosted friends and family at 'Mas de Viret', traveling to Antigua and the Mill Reef Club with friends, and enjoying their home in Highlands, NC and the community at Cullasaja.
Deborah is survived by her husband of 49 years, Charles Bascom Shelton III; her daughter Lara Shelton Ratcliff and her husband Bruce Alan Ratcliff, Jr. and their two children Elizabeth Pfeiffer Ratcliff and Charles Alan Ratcliff; her youngest daughter Ashley Shelton Gayanilo and her husband Ludwig Erwin Pineda Gayanilo and their daughter Maria Angelina Pineda Shelton Gayanilo and stepdaughter Noah Gabrielle Thayer-Gayanilo; and her sister, Faith Jackson Parker and her husband, John R. Parker and her children Caroline Pfeiffer Wadhams and Nicholas Hand Wadhams.
A memorial service will be held Friday, July 18 at 11 o'clock at The Cathedral of St. Philip. The family will greet guests in Child Hall following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road, NW, Atlanta, GA 30305; The Alliance Theater, 1280 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309; or to ARCS Foundation, Inc., Atlanta Chapter, P.O. Box 52124, Atlanta, GA 30355. Online condolences may be made at hmpattersonspringhill.com.
The family praises God for Debbie's intelligence, wit, hospitality, service and inspiration. She was a wonderful mother, wife and friend, and we thank friends and family for their love and support.