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Naomi Evadney (Mortenson) ShelnutMay 2, 1935 ~ August 31, 2017 (age 82)
Naomi Evadny Mortenson Shelnut was born on May 2, 1935
in New York City and went to join our ancestors
on August 31, 2017 in Sacramento, California.
Present at her bedside during her transition was her beloved
daughter Stacey Shelnut-Hendrick, son-in-law Ellsworth
Deron Hendrick; grandson Touré Sylvester Deron Hendrick,
whom she adored beyond words; faithful sister Lillian
Mortenson Braxton and niece Brenda Braxton.
Raised in the Bronx, Naomi was the elder sister to Lillian and
Alfred Mortenson. She attended P.S. 54, Prospect Junior High
School, Central Commercial High School (later known as
Norman Thomas High School) and studied for two years at
Herbert H. Lehman College.
While at Prospect JHS, Naomi met Sylvester “Shorty” Shelnut,
whom she married on December 22, 1956. For 35 years, until
his death in 1992, Naomi and Shorty were a strong,
hardworking, and loving couple, and to their union was
born Stacey Louise.
Naomi was known for her diligent work ethic. Her career
began at Metropolitan and Harlem Hospitals and later went
on to City College of New York. In 1978, Naomi was very proud
to be appointed the Administrative Assistant to the Vice
Chancellor for Special Programs of The City University of New
York. She served in the same role for the Dean for University
Affairs and Educational Development. She was then promoted
to Higher Education Associate for the Vice Chancellor for
Faculty and Staff Relations, the position from which she
retired in 1991.
Naomi’s retirement was anything but quiet. She was a volunteer for
Court-Appointed Special Advocates, Inc. (CASA), East Harlem Tutorial
program, The Foundation for AIDS Research, Roundabout Theatre
Company, YUM Fresh Food program at Isabella’s Senior Citizen
Center, and conducted art workshops all over New York for Elder
Craftsman, Inc. and the S.T.A.R. Senior Center, where she was a member.
Naomi liked to travel — going on a number of cruises and trips to
Egypt, Japan, Europe (Paris and London), the Caribbean and
Central America. An avid crafter, she was an active member of
the 3-D Cloth Doll Club, Quilters of Color Network NYC, Empire
Quilters, and Manhattan Doll Club. She also enjoyed aqua aerobics
with friends and coordinating groups to see the latest Broadway
shows. She attended Fort Washington Collegiate Church, identified
for its commitment to social justice.
Naomi was preceded in death by her husband Sylvester Shelnut;
parents Walter Elias Mortenson of St. Croix, Virgin Islands and Lillian
Horry Mortenson of Charleston, South Carolina; her brother Alfred
Elias Mortenson; and six half-siblings.
In addition to those mentioned above, left to mourn are Naomi’s
half-sister Melba Mortenson Glover and niece Barbara Taylor Moses;
and grand-nieces and nephews. She will be missed by a host of
wonderful friends, in-laws (The Hendricks, Herndons, and Bradleys),
neighbors, colleagues, and kindred-spirits.
Naomi was a force of life and loved by an ever growing circle
of family and friends who celebrate her humor, style, candor,
loyalty, generosity, determination, compassion, and leadership.
She never backed down, gave up, or let it slide. She lived her life
“out loud,” and when asked by her daughter if she had any
regrets, her reply was quick, simple and direct—“NOT A THING!”
Naomi’s remains will be laid to rest with her late husband Sylvester “Shorty” Shelnut
at Mount Holiness Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made in her honor to
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
501 St Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105