Shelly Dawn Claxton (née Fry), age 59, of Hinckley, IL passed away just after midnight on Saturday, April 4, 2020, at home surrounded by her loving family. She fought a long and courageous battle with breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer, which eventually caused her death.
Shelly was born on July 27, 1960 in Beardstown, IL, the third child of John Francis and Gloria Lee (née Behymer) Fry of Hersman, IL.
Shelly grew up on the family farm in Hersman where she enjoyed many fun times, adventures, and mischief with her three siblings. She graduated from Brown County High School in Mt. Sterling, IL in 1978. In high school she appeared in many school plays, was active with her classmates, and proud to be a Brown County Hornet. She attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL for a while and later attended Gem City College in Quincy, IL.
Shelly met her future husband at her cousin’s wedding in December 1982, a fateful meeting that forever changed their lives.
Shelly married Todd Allen Claxton, her soulmate and life partner, on May 19, 1984 in Jacksonville, IL. They were a very happy couple who loved each other dearly. They shared many fun times and life experiences together. They were often seen walking hand in hand wherever they went. After moving first to West Chicago, IL and later Montgomery, IL, Shelly worked as a department secretary at Nalco Chemical Company in Naperville, IL. When they started their family Shelly took on the full time job of being a Mother to two darling daughters (Abigail and Haley) and homemaker for her family. The job she always dreamed of and one she loved doing and did so well. Shelly was active with her young children, walking them to school, teaching them many things (especially how to have fun!), taking them to swimming lessons, and coaching them in youth soccer.
Shelly and Todd moved to Hinckley, IL in 1998, a small town like her hometown, so her children could enjoy the benefits of living in a rural community and “small town life.” She remained active in her children’s lives continuing to coach them in soccer, take them to swim lessons, and attending all of their school activities (concerts, plays, sporting events, and the like). She was an active member of the PTO at Hinckley Elementary School for several years and served as their President for a time.
Shelly was active in the community as well and joined the Hinckley Fire Protection District (a volunteer fire department) as an EMT in January 2003. She was promoted to EMS Coordinator in June 2006 and served until September 2010. She enjoyed the camaraderie she shared with the other fire department members and she made many good and life-long friends. She loved serving her community, helping anyone in need, and literally jumped at the chance to help whenever her pager went off. She took care of many friends and neighbors as well as strangers, doing her very best to take care of each one of them as if they were members of her own family. She was a humble public servant, responding whenever needed, including a call to the mass shooting at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL on February 14, 2008. She fearlessly responded to many tragic events over the years willingly and selflessly accepting and fulfilling her obligations to society as an EMT, a job she loved and cherished.
Shelly also worked part-time at her church, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sandwich, IL, as a secretary and bookkeeper from January 2006 until December 2016. She loved serving her church family, an extension of her own family, and doing God’s work. She willingly took on any and all tasks asked of her as she continued to care for others selflessly, freely giving them her love and support whenever needed. She enjoyed working with the other staff members, pastors, and church leaders and was loved by many she had the privilege to meet and serve. Her faith in the Lord grew stronger and stronger while working and worshiping at Salem, a strength that served her well and was a shining example to others of how God’s love is powerful and boundless for us all.
Shelly’s family and work life are examples of how she lived her life: nurturing, loving, and caring for others, giving all of herself from the goodness in her heart with compassion, genuine concern, and a desire to do the most good. Giving a smile to others in spite of her own hardships and sharing hugs freely, openly, and joyously, giving her grace and love to everyone she was fortunate enough to meet. She made many good friends and touched many lives during her short time here on Earth. She was loved and admired by many and will be dearly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her, loving her, and sharing life with her.
Shelly and Todd celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary last year on May 19, 2019 with a beautiful wedding vow renewal ceremony and celebration in Elburn, IL provided by their daughter Haley. It was the one thing on Shelly’s proverbial “bucket list” and it was a day she and Todd truly cherished and treasured together. She was feeling good that day as her ongoing treatments were effectively keeping her cancer at bay. She enjoyed the day to the fullest, felt full of life and love, and enjoyed celebrating her anniversary with the love of her life, her family, and many dear friends. She was particularly radiant and beautiful that day and said she never felt more pampered or loved in her life. It was a dream come true and fulfillment of the wishful ambition she penned in high school, “to be happy and have a loving husband.”
Shelly is survived by her loving and devoted husband Todd A. Claxton of Hinckley, IL; daughters by birth: Abigail (Maddie Steckroat) Lippert of St. Cloud, MN and Haley Claxton of Germantown Hills, IL; daughter and grandson by love, Sara and Jordan Cox of Washington, IL; mother, Gloria Fry of Hersman, IL; siblings: Diana Coulter of Springfield, IL, Mike (Donna) Fry of Trimble, TN and Tammy (Jay) Herald of Chambersburg, IL; father-in-law, James (Lynn) Claxton of Yuma, AZ; brothers-in-law: Michael (Kelly Jaminet) Claxton of Stow, OH, Jerry Claxton of Rantoul, IL and Kevin (Rachelle) Claxton of Fisher, IL; many beloved nephews and nieces who knew her as “Aunt Huggy”; many cousins and dear friends; also missing her and looking for her is her little Shih Tzu dog, couch cuddle buddy, and napping partner Monty.
She was preceded in death by her father, John Francis Fry of Hersman, IL on February 27, 2011 and mother-in-law Yvonne Marie (née Bonjour) Claxton of Rantoul, IL on December 30, 2005.
A memorial service is scheduled for 1:00 p.m., Friday, June 12, 2020, at Hendricker Funeral Home in Mt. Sterling, IL with Pastor Jeff Mikyska officiating. Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, memorial service attendance is limited to immediate family members only.
Other family and friends are encouraged to watch Shelly’s memorial services streaming live at 1:00 p.m. Friday, June 12, 2020 on the funeral home website at hendrickerfuneralhome.com.
Interment will follow at the Hersman Cemetery in Hersman, IL. All who wish to are welcome to join the memorial procession to the cemetery. A brief graveside service will be held at the cemetery for immediate family members only. Once this service concludes and the family members return to their vehicles, attendees are welcome to visit Shelly’s gravesite to pay their respects one family at a time to Shelly and her husband Todd, who will remain by her side until the very end.
A celebration of life will be planned at a future date when the pandemic situation is over and it is safe for everyone to gather together to share stories, love, laughter, and hugs to celebrate Shelly’s life and honor her as she deserves.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in person to any Resource Bank location or by mail to Resource Bank at 280 E. Lincoln Ave., Hinckley, IL 60520. Checks can be made payable to the Shelly D. Claxton Memorial Account.
The family would like to thank Dr. Kaushik Patel and the entire oncology clinic staff at the Rush-Copley Medical Center locations in Aurora and Yorkville, IL. Dr. Patel and the oncology staff took excellent care of Shelly during her 13-year battle with cancer. Without their dedicated and compassionate care, her life would have been much shorter and much more difficult.
The family would also like to thank LivingWell Cancer Resource Center in Geneva, IL and all the staff there for the service and support they provided to Shelly and her family. The support, care, and concern provided during Shelly’s 6-year battle with metastatic breast cancer was invaluable and truly appreciated.
Thanks are also due to Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church and its congregation, the Claxton’s church family. They provided many blessings to Shelly and her family during her long arduous cancer journey and supported them all with love, faith, and prayers.
Lastly, the family would like to thank Unity Hospice of Rochelle, IL for the excellent care they provided for Shelly during her short time in hospice. All who came to care for Shelly did so with love, care, and compassion, which is deeply appreciated.
To send flowers to Shelly's family, please visit our floral store.