Rachel Anne Shelton Terry was born on January 5, 1977. She is the only child of Jimmy and Sherren Shelton of Sutherlin, VA. She was a devoted member of Lakewood Community Church where she was active in teaching and leading many activities for children.
Rachel graduated from Dan River High School and the Governor’s School at Averett University. She excelled in school and made excellent grades while making friends for life. She always put her best effort forward and would except nothing less, receiving many awards throughout her school years. In 1995, Rachel graduated Salutatorian from Dan River High. She loved her high school buddies and during her graduation speech she was very emotional knowing friends were moving in different directions.
In the fall of 1995, she began studies at Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC. She made many friends there, staying in contact with them as lifelong buddies. She loved her suite-mates unconditionally and they held a special place in her heart!
Rachel also excelled at Campbell graduating Summa Com Laude in 1998. In the fall of 1998, she accepted a position to teach the handicapped pre-school class at Union Hall Elementary in Pittsylvania County. She taught there for 3 years – and little did she know when she began that she would also meet the love of her life, Charles Terry, at the school. Charles and Rachel were married on June 17, 2000 in a beautiful ceremony that brought their lives together forever.
In 2001, Rachel accepted a new position at Southside Elementary where she taught kindergarten – this had been her desire in teaching since she was a child. She had a passion for teaching and loved every child who entered her classroom. Rachel was an awesome teacher who was loved by parents, staff and students. She taught at Southside for 15 years, including summer school 2015 before she was called to heaven that same summer.
Kael was her firstborn son in 2002 and he was the apple of her eye. In 2005, Rachel and Charles were blessed with another boy, Cooper, who she dearly loved. In 2008, her family felt complete when sweet Mallory Grace was born – needless to say, Mallory was the little princess of the family. After God, Rachel’s children always came first in her life and she was a wonderful and devoted Mommy.
In February of 2014, Rachel was diagnosed with a very rare cervical cancer. She received the highest levels of chemo and radiation possible. Duke Hospital administered every all possible cure they knew, frantically pushing to rid her body of this cancer. Throughout all this time, she still had that AMAZING smile for all to see. And she maintained her faith the entire time. She even continued teaching school as much as possible because she did not want her students to be without her during the school year – her passion for teaching never dimmed!
Later that year the tumor was gone! Her family was on cloud 9 – but it didn’t last long. Rachel had a couple of good months, and then the pain returned. Her family’s worst nightmare returned too. The cancer was back this time in her pancreas.
Still with amazing faith and that contagious SMILE, she fought through many treatments with hopes that they would work. They did not.
Rachel bravely entered a clinical trial as a last resort at Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, NC. She received one treatment but the cancer did not respond. The cancer had spread to her liver. With amazing grace, Rachel accepted this news and said her good-byes to her family and friends.
On August 6, 2015, Rachel entered the heavenly gates and is flying high with Jesus. We imagine her beautiful SMILE and know that heaven is a lot brighter now. We miss her tremendously but we know that Rachel is in God’s Hands where she is free from pain – and teaching the angels every day!
“I always knew my daughter was a strong woman, but I never realized exactly how strong she was in her faith. She was amazing! Everyone she met was somehow touched by her. I am so blessed to call her mine and to have had 38 precious years on earth with her. My prayer is that she will never be forgotten and her children will grow up with the strength and faith she had.
Cancer sucks, but cancer did not win with my girl. She beat it by the way she lived with it, always encouraging others and wearing that beautiful SMILE. A woman after God’s own heart, that’s my girl.
Fly high, baby girl until I see you again!
I will always love you and hope that I can be half the woman you were. You were my greatest joy and always will be.”
(Sherren Yates Shelton)
This website is dedicated to Rachel’s memory and the incredible impact she had on hundreds of people’s lives during her short time on earth. Our prayer is that she will be remembered for her faith in God, her love for her family, and her passion for teaching children. We will live every day to its fullest until we see her again in heaven.
“Rachel’s ordinary was everyone else’s extraordinary!”