In Memoriam: International Past President Shelby P. Hamlett

September 17, 2020

GFWC was sad to learn that Shelby P. Hamlett, 2000–2002 International President, passed away on September 14, 2020.

Born in Wytheville, Virginia, Shelby spent most of her life in Roanoke, a vibrant city among the Blue Ridge Mountains where she began her club work at the age of 18 with the Brambleton Junior Woman’s Club. Just as Roanoke has an iconic star that sparkles over the city from a high mountaintop, GFWC had a shining star in Shelby.

Shelby never met a stranger—everyone was a friend. All who knew her would agree that she was truly interested in whatever you had to share. Despite frequent separations from her federation sisters, Shelby had the gift of reconnecting with friends as if they had never been apart.

Shelby loved GFWC with all her heart and held tremendous faith in the Federation and its members. Under her leadership, GFWC established the Leadership Education and Development Seminar (LEADS). Even in the face of declining membership, Shelby believed that educated and inspired leaders would keep the Federation strong.

Those privileged to call Shelby a friend agree she personified Mary Stewart’s Collect for Clubwomen. She touched and knew “the great, common human heart of us all.” Shelby’s grace, kindness, and generous spirit will always be remembered.



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