Betty "Shelly" Harrell
February 9, 1935
August 28, 2022
Betty Shelton Smith Harrell, called “Shelly” since her early days at Camp Mystic in the Texas hill country, was born February 9, 1935 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Shelly passed away peacefully on August 28, 2022 in Austin, Texas. Her parents were District Judge Tillman and Virginia Dare Baxter Smith. Shelly grew up in Corpus, attending Menger Elementary, Wynn Seal Junior High and entered W. B. Ray High School the year it opened in 1951. She was elected cheerleader her Junior and Senior years and enjoyed helping a new school choose a fight song and other traditions. She truly loved her Corpus friends all of her life and attended her class reunions every time they came around.
Shelly spent her summers and holidays in Nacogdoches and Smith Counties with her grandparents, a tradition that she felt shaped the best part of her growing-up years. Her Baxter forbearers had come to Texas during the Republic to Nacogdoches County. Her Baxter grandfather made sure his granddaughters knew their family history and they were aware of the homes and burial sites of the generations before them. Time spent on the South property 8 miles from Tyler was memorable for its history and the very fact that it was a working farm. In 1977, in a ceremony in San Antonio, Smith Farm, founded in 1870 was awarded a Family Land Heritage Certificate of Honor for a century of continuous ownership and operation as a family agricultural enterprise. For a city girl, the farm with its land, produce, and animals as well as the old homestead, with many fireplaces and water drawn from the well, was a unique experience. Especially since her home was on the seacoast and she lived four blocks from Corpus Christi Bay and saw the water almost every day.
Shelly attended The University of Texas, Austin, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and Ashbel Literary Society. She spent her sophomore year as an advisor and Littlefield Dormitory, where she had lived for her freshman year. She was the Chaplain of her sorority. Her major was costume Design, using her lifelong interest in drawing.
From her mother, who had a lovely singing voice and was a great force in bringing the symphony to Corpus, Shelly developed a life-long interest and love of classical music and attended concerts in many places she lived and traveled throughout her adult life. She was a supporter of the San Antonio Symphony while she lived there.
By the time she moved to San Antonio in the summer of 1983, she had lived in 13 cities, three of them twice. She thereafter called San Antonio her true home. However, the friends she made in each place she lived were considered dear to her for the rest of her life.
Shelly’s life-long interest and love of the arts were always a joy and something she loved to share. In the various places she lived she did artwork for the community. In Brenham, for example, she designed and made Brenham Maifest costumes and sets. In San Antonio, she designed the first poster in 2004 for the Battle of Flowers, using their famous yellow hat and another one in 2005, The Alamo surrounded by Texas Wildflowers. Her hat poster was later made into a balloon float that flies high every year at the Battle of Flowers parade. She also designed with a calligrapher and good friend, Kay Oliver, the “Flags of the Republic of Texas, A Sesquicentennial Salute” which was marketed and sold all over the state and many other parts of the country. Shelly tried to draw every day, and always had a pen and sketchbook with her. She liked to tear the drawings out of her book and give them to someone nearby or send it to someone with a note. She was honored to study with many well-known watercolor and pastel artists in Texas and New Mexico.
A lifelong Presbyterian, her church was dear to her. Having, for many years, a condominium in Santa Fe, NM, and maintaining a 1930’s house in Brenham, she attended in those cities as well as her home church, First Presbyterian in San Antonio.
One of her favorite traditions was the 4th of July party which became an annual affair many years ago. An informal event at their home that began after the Terrell Hills 4th of July parade, the only reason for an RSVP was so that they could get enough fried chicken to go around. Everyone else brought sides to add to the festivities and as she said, “It always worked out”. It would not be uncommon to have more than 100 people in and out of the house. There was always a program of some sort that celebrated some phase of our country’s history or traditions. She welcomed ideas and people who would share their experiences and knowledge of our country’s history.
She joyfully belonged to several clubs including Lantana and Las Mananitas Garden clubs, The Battle of Flowers, Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae, San Antonio Watercolor Group and Texas Watercolor Society. The Texas Exes group and Friends of the Governor’s Mansion in Austin.
She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Marshall Allen Harrell II. Shelly grew up with one sister, Joanna Smith Henderson, of Houston. Shelly is survived by her daughter, Shawn Windham Foerster Fisher, and husband James of Fulshear, Texas along with Shawn’s daughters Rachel Lynn Czar and husband, Dan, as well as Rebakah Betts Maes and husband, Andrew. Also, her daughter Helen Virginia Foerster Proctor and husband, Dale, of Arlington, Texas; their children Bryan Dale Proctor II and wife, Jessica; Christopher Scott Proctor and wife, Sara; Emily Virginia Praught and husband, Collin. Son, Shelton Hofmann Foerster and wife, Kristi of Kerrville, Texas. Shelton’s children Shelton Hofmann Foerster II and his wife, Sarah; and daughter Brittany Rose Foerster. Her son Marshall Allen Harrell III and his wife, Leslie of Austin, Texas; their children Virginia Jane Harrell and Marshall Allen Harrell IV. Great grandchildren are Bryan Dale Proctor III, Luke Ellison Proctor, Scarlett Glory Proctor, Isaac Hunter Proctor, Jonah Christopher Proctor, Ivy Jane Proctor, Ellie Virginia Praught, Wyatt Eric Praught, Eli Fisher Czar, Graham Wyatt Czar, Cason Hofmann Foerster, Axel Paul Foerster, Dash Tillman Foerster, Eloise Claire Foerster and Zuzu Ann Foerster. Also surviving Shelly is cousin Lynnell Burkett, sister-in-law Elaine Harrell Mitchell and numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents, Tillman and Virginia Smith, in-laws Mary Lee and Marshall Harrell Sr., her brother-in-law Boyd Henderson, brother and sister-in-law Donald and Eugenia Harrell.
Memorial services will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6th at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 3003 Northland Drive, Austin with Rev. David Meriwether presiding.
Memorials: First Presbyterian Church San Antonio; San Antonio PBS station KLRN; San Antonio Symphony League or charity of choice.