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Shelton, who graduated from Northwest High School in 1970, had worked at IndyGo and Enterprise and was active with the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 1883 in Beech Grove for 25 years. She also volunteered to help women leaving prison, advocated for abused and stray dogs, and was a tireless supporter of local bands and musicians, including her companion Tony Sizemore.
Kim Beward said Shelton did not have any close relatives. But she had a large extended “family.”
“All she had in this world were her friends and musicians and Tony,” she said. “There are some nieces and nephews. But I heard from a bunch of people on Facebook that were like, ‘she practically raised me’ and ‘she was like a second mom to me.’ I’ve heard a lot of that.”
Beward, 55, met Shelton about 11 years ago when Shelton was volunteering with a nonprofit that helped women reintegrate into society after being released from prison. They quickly became fast friends. Beward even hired Birdie to help with her commercial cleaning business.
One memory Beward said typified Shelton’s caring spirit is of a night they spent together on the roof of Charlie Brown’s restaurant in Speedway. The stunt was a fundraiser to fight homelessness among former inmates.
“We wanted to make sure that women had clothes and help them find jobs, get the services and benefits that they needed, that kind of thing,” said Beward, who stayed in contact with Shelton after moving to Maryland about four years ago.
It was just one of many fundraisers Shelton organized. Another was a 2017 concert and motorcycle ride to help the families of Abby Williams and Libby German, the young girls who went missing in Delphi and were later found dead. Finding their killer was a cause Shelton continued to support on her Facebook page.
Just a month before her death, Shelton organized a celebration of life for a local musician. And when it was over, as was typical, Shelton took to Facebook to thank everyone else who helped with the event.
“We shed a few tears today and a whole lot of laughs. We had so much food we didn’t have room to sit it all out,” she wrote in the Feb. 9, 2020, post. “Danny we all miss you terribly & love you so much but we know you are playing in that Band in Heaven with Dean Kennedy & the rest of your friends pain free & healthy.”