Shirlee Sheathelm moved into Middlewoods of Newington just a few short months ago. I first met her and her family when they came in to take a look around. Shirlee had a warmness and honesty about her and was genuine with a good sense of humor. We had an instant connection, and I knew she would blossom at our award-winning senior living community as she was ready to embrace making a change to enhance her life.
Born in Battle Creek, Michigan, she grew up there as an only child with very loving grandparents and Aunt. She had a memorable childhood and loved school. She fondly remembers her time spent in high school with her best friend, Billy Jean. They each had a large doll house and enjoyed creating stories and elaborate scenes about their dolls. Shirlee went on to college and pursued a Master’s Degree in Education and Art from Michigan State. She worked for 50 years as an Art Teacher at Mansfield Middle School in Mansfield, CT and was awarded their first ever Teacher of the Year. Shirlee’s initial interest in art developed around age 5, after being inspired by her Grandfather, a landscape designer. She loved her career and her passion for art shines through in everything she does, including teaching a weekly painting class here at Middlewoods. If you visit her apartment, you will see her artwork and passion for art throughout; from framed artwork on the walls, famous paintings, art books and always a work in progress on her drawing table. The most recent is a drawing of a bluebird.
Besides art, her interests include sports, especially golf, a sport she played for years, being around people, (she considers herself a “people person”), and loves to read. She also loves flowers, gardening, and art museums. At Middlewoods, she is always happy, sharing a warm smile and a hug with others. And she is involved in all sorts of activities, from exercise to baking, and attending various outings, including a recent trip to a UCONN Women’s basketball game.
Her family is near and dear to her heart. Her son Kurt and his family live in Connecticut, and her daughter Kristine lives in Vermont. If you were to ask her what she enjoys most about life she would say "people…and art, in any form." If she could meet anyone in the world, it would most likely be a famous artist.
Travel is high on her list of thing she has done in her life. Shirlee traveled to almost all 50 states, but really loves the east coast and feels it is so much different than where she grew up in Michigan.
Shirlee’s favorite color is blue - all shades from pale to deep. “There are lots of possibilities with blue,” she explains.
The best piece of advice she ever received was “Never pass up an opportunity to help someone.”
Shirlee is a true testament to the positive experience of living in a senior living community. She has embraced life and all there is to offer here at Middlewoods of Newington. Because of her loving, caring nature, she has touched many a person and is a wonderful presence here in our community. We are so glad she now has Middlewoods of Newington to call home.
About Stacy Kesl
I have always enjoyed working with people and have worked in the health care field for most of my professional life, in both assisted living and long term care settings and most recently as a Dementia Specialist. My love of working in health care began in college after a dear family friend suggested I volunteer at a senior living community. I ended up working there for over 2 years. It was a wonderful experience and helped shape who I am today. Now, I live in Canton with my husband and 2 children. My hobbies include bird watching, hiking, photography and traveling. My favorite trips were driving cross-country after graduating college and my honeymoon in Ireland. I work as the Executive Director of Middlewoods of Newington and couldn’t be happier!
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