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Shelley D Berry

Shelley D Berry died October 28, 2019 after a lengthy battle with Crohns Disease, short gut syndrome and kidney failure.  She was 62.   Shelley was born Leigh Shelley Dutton on June 14, 1957 in Minneapolis, MN.  She was welcomed by two half-brothers.  The Dutton family was a highly mobile one.    As an infant Shelley moved to Aspen Co where she was joined in quick procession by two sisters.  The three girls were each a year apart.  A baby brother followed 5 years later.  The family moved to Boulder, CO in 63 and Seattle, WA in 67.  Between 67 and 78 the family lived in Mercer Island, Bellevue, New Castle, Des Moines and Burien, with a sojourn back to Colorado in 72.  The summer of 72 was spent in Estes Park CO where Shelley had her first job selling souvenirs to tourists visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.

Shelley graduated from Mt Rainier High School, class of 75, and attended Highline Community College, where she developed her love of theater and science fiction.  During the 70s Shelley was very involved in the Jesus Movement, attending many Jesus Festivals throughout the northwest.  During high school and college she wrote, produced and directed theatricals for Midway Covenant Church in Des Moines, WA.

Shelley was an early member of both the Puget Sound Star Trekkers and Norwescon, one of the largest regional science fiction and fantasy conventions in the United States.  Shelley loved working NORWESCON.  Shelley attended SCIFI conventions all over the country as well as Montreal and London.  

Shelley loved cats, beading, flowers, movies and books.  Most especially she loved science fiction.   She loved knowledge and language, and was always researching esoteric subjects on the internet.  The internet was truly a gift to her.  Shelley had a wicked sense of humor, though she was the quietest of the siblings.  

It was in the late 70s that Shelley began her lifelong battle with Crohns Disease.  Between 1979 and 2016 she experience too many to count ER visits, hospitalizations, and surgeries.  As a result she was only able to work intermittently.  Her last job was as a technical writer for Boeing.  

Following a series of catastrophic medical events Shelley was no longer able to work.  At age 49 she entered assisted living where she remained fairly stable for 10 years.  In 2016 she suffered complications following bowel surgery.  As a result she was unable to return to assisted living.  She entered Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation Center where she remained until her death.  It would be easy to assume that the life Shelley lived at the nursing home was a sad one.  This was far from the case.  Shelley came to see INRC as her home where she was cared for by a supportive and amazing staff that she came to love.  She made many friends, and reconnected with a number of old friends.  She came to see INRC as a gift rather than a place to be housed until death.  She found there an unhoped for sense of peace and yes, even happiness.

Shelley is preceded in death by her parents, Ted and Liz Dutton, brother Scott Dutton, and ex-husband Steve Berry.  She is survived by two sisters, Lisa Dutton (Michael Spafford) and Lynne Hatter (Stephen) and two brothers, Jay Armbruster and Loren Dutton, two nephews Jacob Dutton (Rowena), and Callan Spafford, niece Juno Spafford, and grand-niece Maria Dutton.

A memorial service will be held December 14th at 1 pm at Unity of Bellevue, 16330 NE 4th St Bellevue, WA 98008 with a potluck lunch to be held afterwards in the friendship room.


I came across Shellys passing due to Crohn's with complications. I am so very sorry... I sympathize with what she went through..... I feel like we should have known one another. I was finally diagnosed in ‘78 w/ exploratory surgery which found the Crohn’s spread. It’s not easy to live with I too love kitties and at times had up to 4. Shelly I wish we knew each other. Maybe someday Blessings

Susan M Fisher

A couple of weeks before Shelley died, She gave me a card. The card said "It's not what we have in our life, but who we have in our life that counts." (J.M. Lawrence) Inside it she wrote Good on you! -you're a wonderful person & I'm glad I can call you friend. I felt the same way about her. We spent many late nights talking after I had clocked out. We would talk about everything and nothing she would always root for the underdog and look out for her fellow man. Even though ours started out as a work related relationship she became much more she became a friend. She was always there for me and I like to think I was there for her too. I miss her.

Rochelle Maestas

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