Cover photo for Karen Ann Shelley's Obituary
Karen Ann Shelley Profile Photo
1944 Karen 2021

Karen Ann Shelley

December 29, 1944 — January 26, 2021

Karen Ann Shelley, born Friday, December 29, 1944, in Wichita, Kansas, to Walter and Virginia Burford, passed away Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at her residence, surrounded by her faithful husband and loving family and friends.

My Life Story
By Karen Ann Shelley

I believe if this letter is being read to all my family and friends the Lord has me with Him as He promised.

At age three years old I was crowned queen of Memorial Building in Liman, Colorado. If you can believe that, a queen of a building.

At age five years old, thanks to my Christian parents taking me to church, I received a five year pin for good attendance in Sunday school.

August 23, 1954, my mother gave birth to my baby brother, Larry David Burford. Mom was very ill with cancer and passed away December 1954. This was very hard on our family with my dad and four kids to raise by himself. We had a lot of help from our church and family. We left Kansas to move to California summer of 1955.

My dad moved our family to Middletown, California, in 1955/56, I was in sixth grade. Dad was the music teacher at the high school for one year.

We moved to Healdsburg, California, in the summer of 1956 through 1959. Dad was the music director at the high school. I attended the junior high where I had some of my most wonderful memories with friends and church family. I also learned to play the clarinet, but of course, a bit challenging, to say the least. I've since given that instrument to my son, Robert Miller.

Dad met and married our church secretary, Aileen Crain, in 1959/60, who had a son Jim, same age as me. My new brother had a real challenge with us girls and Larry.

Our family moved to Concord, California, in the summer of 1960 and I graduated from Clayton Valley High School June 1962.

In the summer of 1962 we moved to San Jose, California, where later I met and married Arvin Miller. I think I was too young, but I had my son, Robert, who has brought me many years of happiness. My son and I have had our ups and downs, but mostly better times together. I love him so much. Marriage ended in divorce in 1980 under difficult circumstances.

On January 6, 1966, around three PM, my son and I were kidnapped in front of a store at a shopping center just around from where we lived in San Jose. The gunman took us out in the country and threatened many terrible things, but God prevailed and saved us from this man. The next morning the San Jose Mercury News headline read "PRAYER FOILS RAPE, KIDNAPPER RELENTS AND FREES MOM AND TOT".

My wonderful dad, Walter Burford, passed to be with the Lord June 1966. He was such a blessing to our family and a Christian who loved the Lord. At that time, our stepmother, Aileen, asked if she could adopt our brother, Larry, so she could raise him. As all of us kids were already married, we thought it in the best interest of our brother. It turned out well. Praise the Lord!

I guess sometimes we never learn from experience as I got married to Jeff Encalade September 17, 1983. I truly believe we need to make sure we check with God as to why we are making such a decision. Marriage ended in Januray 2001, after many long years trying to make things right.

Praise the Lord! I have been blessed abundantly by marrying my high school classmate 40 years after graduation on October 26, 2002. Howard Shelley is a wonderful Christian and loves the Lord with all his heart, as I do. He has two daughters, Marie and Emily Shelley. Howard has been so faithful to the end and I loved him more each day for the loving care he took of me while I was ill with my cancer. God is good all the time, all the time God is good. We moved to Grants Pass, Oregon, August 2007, where we became members of the church in November 2007.

Sadly, I lost my sister, Margaret Anita, on December 21, 2003, who died of heart failure suddenly. She was a blessing to us and we miss her.

I've never really done any great accomplishments in my life, but my dad always taught me to do the best I could and that making others put a smile on their faces is priceless.

My job list is not much, baby sat kids in junior high, picked prunes in Healdsburg, California, sore knees. I worked at a large trash company, Browning Ferris Industries, in San Jose, California. I was in customer service and represented the company as an accounts receivable person at the Small Claims Court. Crazy life there, riding in the trucks when drivers were on strike, trying to show my driver where to go. Bummer!

My best job ever was being a secretary at the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, in Grants Pass, Oregon, for eight years. I learned so much there and was happy to be in contact with so many people in need.

Last but not least, I worked cleaning homes of my beloved Christian friends from FCC and I cherish the times I was in their home, being able to help them shine.

My life has not been perfect, as many of you know. I've really tried to do what is right most of my life, however, as you all know, the devil sometimes steps in and tries to take over, but God is so awesome to show me the right way to go as a Christian and I've been blessed having Him living in me.

For those of my family and friends that I've pestered for so many years about believing in God, I hope I am forgiven, but I'm not sorry because it is so important and He is so real.


I've been blessed by my sister, Dianne (Diny) Kaye Roeder, who has been so awesome and helpful during my life and care during my illness. Diny, your music touches my very soul and I can't thank you enough for God giving you such a wonderful talent and faith in Him. I also want to thank your wonderful family for loving me the way they do.

My brother, Larry David Burford, you are such a caring, loving person and as my baby brother, I love you so much for your faith and dedication to God and our family. They are so blessed to have you as their father on this earth.

My son, Robert, you are a rare breed, my son, and I love you so much. You have helped me in times of need when I had no place to go after trying times. You rescued me from others who were trying to harm me. Being with you and the family for a few months was such help and I treasure the time with my grandsons, Mitch and Dalton. I love you all.

To my husband, Howard, last but not least, I've already talked about how awesome you have been in my life. You came up my driveway on your white horse and married me so we could have these final years together in the Lord. Thanks for the memories sweetie, I love you more than you could ever know.

One last thanks to all my friends and family for your love, friendship, prayers, calls, cards, visits, and food that was delivered during my illness. I've been truly blessed!

Life really was good to me and until we meet again, I'll say so long for now and hope you all are blessed in life.

I'll love you all forever!

Karen Ann Shelley
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Pacific time)

First Christian Church

Grants Pass, OR

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