On Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 4:16 p.m., Valree transitioned from this earth to her heavenly home. She was in the company of her son when she passed.
“Ms. V.” as she was affectionately called by her grandchildren, was born November 3, 1921 to the late Toby Smith and Ella Welch.
She confessed Christ at an early age under the guidance of her mother. She stated that she was “sickly as a child” and told her mother she “did not expect to live beyond sixteen years of age.” Valree’s mother told her that she was not correct and that she would pray for her. Prayer definitely changes things because she lived to the age of 91.
She attended school at Simmons High School in Okolona where she completed the 11th grade. Shortly after leaving school she met and married Frezell Shells. To this union one son, Fred Allen Shells was born.
Valree eventually moved to Chicago with her great-aunt Eva Brooks. While in Chicago she attended Barber College. After graduating and becoming a licensed barber she practiced the trade for some 30 years. She became co-owner of the Arkansas barber Shop, which was a fixture on Roosevelt Avenue in Chicago for many years.
Upon retirement, Valree returned to Arkansas where she lived in Gurdon for a period of time before moving to Little Rock to be near her son. Valree immensely enjoyed music especially gospel and jazz. She also loved to be around people and she even joined Canaan Missionary Baptist Church where her son was a member. She attended until her health failed.
She leaves heartfelt memories and a treasure of love with her son, Fred; two grandchildren Byron (Alicea) Shells and Erica Shells Mayes; four great-grandchildren, Alexandria Shells, Payton Shells, Kamille Mayes and Yazmeen Mayes; plus a host of relatives and friends.
Public visitation will be Friday, November 8, 12013 from 12 noon until 6:00 p.m. The home going celebration will be Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Okolona. Rev. Rufus Hatley will officiate. Interment will be in First Baptist Cemetery.