Shelley Melanie Ostrander (Smith) was born on July 20, 1957 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as the youngest of 4 children to Gordon and G. June (Tremaine) Smith. She grew up in Canada and the northeast United States. In 1975, she and her late husband Edmund Dana Hall welcomed their son, Christopher Gordon Smith, in Toronto. In 1984 she earned her bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy at the University at Buffalo. Soon after, she settled with then-husband Roy Ostrander in upstate New York, where her daughters Amy Elizabeth (1987) and Kaitlin Rose (1989) were born.
With 3 young children, Shelley started her own physical therapy practice and went on to hold varied professional positions. As a physical therapist she was loved by colleagues and patients alike, many of whom remark that her unrivaled compassion and playful enthusiasm came naturally to all she did. Shelley spent her later career as a travelling PT, engaging in two of her most treasured activities: spending time with her children and exploring. In recent years, she relocated to New Smyrna Beach, Florida where she continued working as a physical therapist and actively advocated for her parents to age gracefully and independently into their 90’s in their own home, until the peaceful passing of her mother, G. June, on April 12, 2017.
As a community member, Shelley was known for her vivacious smile, exuberant energy, and unconditional sense of service to all beings, human and animal. She could be found helping a neighbor or family member at any hour of the day, bringing her dog Louie to outdoor exercise classes (such that he eventually became the mascot), and working in her widely adored gardens well beyond dusk. She was a talented watercolor artist, lover of live music and dancing, and a dedicated friend to many. Her most coveted role was likely that of grandmother or “Gogo,” a title adapted from an African word meaning ‘honorable woman’ and a fitting designation for the 100-mile-an-hour-Shelley. She graced her grandchildren with an uncanny sense of joy and youthful curiosity. She created special traditions with each, such as sunrise hot cocoa on the beach, feeding birds while up in her arms, running through sprinklers together, and none more exciting to watch than the classic dog pile.
She became ill in January 2017 and passed peacefully surrounded by her children on April 28, 2017. She lived her final months with inspirational grace and perspective, giving away free ice cream on the beach, riding her tandem bike with family, and sharing many a deep belly laugh.
Shelley had an infectious smile, wise old soul, youthful adventurousness, unconditional love, and vibrant authenticity that she shared fully with all who knew her. She will be forever missed and forever celebrated by those she leaves behind, including her father Gordon Smith, sisters Wendy Sawyer and Heather (William) Jarski, brother Gordon (Jan) Smith, children Christopher Smith (Amber Larkin), Amy Ostrander (Lee Fisher), and Kaitlin Ostrander (Daniel Gerges), her six grandchildren, Mikenzi Fisher, Lucius Fisher, Leland Fisher, Kalisi Fisher, Ever Larksmith, and Kellan Larksmith, numerous nieces and nephews, even more dear friends, colleagues, and neighbors, and her faithful dog Louie.
A shared celebration of life for mother and daughter, Gloria June Smith and Shelley Melanie Ostrander, will be held on May 6, 2017 at 9 o’clock in the morning in the main gallery at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (1414 Art Center Ave. New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168). Casual, colorful attire is encouraged and light breakfast will be served.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Southeast Volusia Human Society (http://www.sevhumanesociety.org/main.html) or the Atlantic Center for the Arts (http://atlanticcenterforthearts.org). Additionally, consider donating blood at any Red Cross to Shelley’s personal campaign (https://sleevesup.redcrossblood.org/campaign/sleeves-up-with-shelley/) through June 14, 2017 or at a local memorial blood drive on May 4, 2017 at Florida Hospital New Smyrna Beach (https://www.facebook.com/events/772353236255301/).
The Summer Day, By Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?