Rev. Dr. Joe K. Shelton, Sr, was born in Fayetteville, TN to William Clifford and Louise Williams Shelton on March 21, 1938. He was proceeded in death by parents, brother – William C. Shelton, Sr and his wife of more than 50 years, Bettye Jane Washington Shelton. He attended Lincoln County TN (Fayetteville) Public schools and graduated from Westend High School in 1956. He matriculated to Tennessee State University where he graduated in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in History. He went on to earn a Master of Divinity from Gammon Theological Seminary, Atlanta, GA in 1972 and received an honoree Doctorate from Rust College, Holly Springs, MS, in 1981. Rev. Dr. Joe K. Shelton, Sr. was a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Rev. Shelton answered his call to ministry while attending his childhood church of Caldwell United Methodist in Petersburg, TN. After being licensed to preach in 1960, he was ordained a Deacon in 1966 and a probationary member in 1969; ordained an Elder in 1972 and received his full connection a year later.
Rev. Shelton was blessed with a great and loving heart for God’s work and served in various capacities of several churches and ministries, which have benefited from his wisdom and love. He served appointments at Farmington Charge, Springfield Charge, McMinnville-Sparta Charge, Downtown Cooperative Ministries in West Virginia, Scotts UMC in Shelbyville, TN., Key Stewart UMC, Gallatin, TN., TSU/Fisk/Meharry Medical College as Campus Minister, Centenary UMC in Memphis, TN., Memphis-Asbury District Superintendent, Clark Memorial UMC in Nashville, TN, Conference Council on Ministries Associate Director, and Senior Pastor, Hillcrest UMC. In retirement, Rev. Shelton continued to serve in a pastoral capacity on an interim bases at Seay Hubbard UMC, Key Stewart UMC, Stanly UMC, in Chattanooga, TN and Chaplin for the YMCA (Northwest), Nashville, TN.
May 2006 Rev. Dr. Joe K. Shelton Sr. was recognized for his outstanding work and accomplishments by then Representative Edith Taylor Langster and members of the Legislative body House of Representatives of the 144th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee.
Rev. Shelton played an instrumental role in essential civic programs including, Boy Scotts of America, Parkwood Homeowners Association, Mayor’s Advisory committee; Leadership Nashville; Opportunity Kiwanis club of Memphis; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; Gammon Theological Seminary Alumni Association, Rust College Alumni Association, Named Chaplain of the Day by the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1985, was a delegate both General and Jurisdictional conference in 1980. Rev. Shelton was strongly committed to the highest ideals of family values and is most grateful for the tremendous love and companionship that he shared with his late wife Bettye Jane Washington Shelton.
Rev. Shelton loved sports and his all-time favorites were baseball and football. He was a die-hard Tennessee State University “Tiger” fan and a season ticket holder to both football and basketball. In later years of his retirement, he joined the YMCA and volunteered his time at the voting poles. He also enjoyed watching any program on the TV1 network, but his favorite shows were Matlock and Perry Mason. Rev. Shelton referred to his nieces and nephews, under the age of 18 (and sometimes older) as “tadpoles” and they would graduate to “Frog” status only when he felt like they had earned it.
He leaves to cherish his memories, three children, Sheila Shelton Suddeth, Teresa Williams (Aaron) and Joe K. Shelton, Jr. (Antionette). Nine grandchildren Kaila Suddeth, William D. Corlew, IV, Monique Corlew, Nia Shelton, Joe K. Shelton, III, Tyree Williams, Omari Williams, Kasmar Williams, Alani Williams and one great grandchild Nevaeh Corlew. Siblings, Robert Shelton (Loretta), Eugene Shelton and David Shelton, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family. Visitation Saturday, July 16, 2022, 11:00am - 12:00pm with funeral to follow at Gordon Memorial UM Church 2334 Herman Street. Interment Greenwood Cemetery North