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Contributed by the Indianapolis Star
Provided Roberta “Birdie” Shelton
Name: Roberta “Birdie” Shelton
Died: March 20, 2020
Her friends called her “Birdie.” And there were a lot of them — for good reason.
Roberta Shelton, 69, was a fun-loving woman known for her big heart.
Friends say the Indianapolis woman would have been the first to step up to assist a family devastated by COVID-19. She was always staging charity events and benefits. They often included concerts drawing on her ties to the local music scene. One friend called her “the fundraiser queen.”
But Birdie won’t be helping in the fight against coronavirus. Fate intervened at Community Hospital East, where Shelton died in March 2020.
Shelton’s diagnosis was confirmed by her companion and employer Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
An Enterprise spokeswoman said the family informed the company of her diagnosis on March 14 and “out of an abundance of caution” employees in the same driver pool were instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days. The company also took additional steps to sanitize all offices and vehicles.
Shelton’s friends hope her death — like her life — resonates with Hoosiers.
They want people to know what an amazing person she was. They want people to understand victims aren’t anonymous statistics or numbers. They want people to heed the warnings about COVID-19 and practice social distancing. And they want everyone to realize the virus can strike anyone, anywhere — just as it did their cherished friend.
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.”