RIP: Shelley Mullins

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MULLINS, Shelley Roberta (Smith) 

26 September 1960 – 5 November 2023

The kind and beautiful Shelley Mullins died on Sunday, November 5, 2023, in Ottawa, Ontario. Shelley had been living with leiomyosarcoma for the past five years. She remained at home with family until a few days before her death, and her mother, June (Doering) Smith West, was with her as she passed. 

Shelley was born in Deep River, Ontario, to Robert Smith (deceased) and June. She had a childhood filled with friends and adventures including swimming at the beach, sailing, music, and especially dancing. Growing up along the Ottawa River instilled a lifelong love of nature.

Shelley met Patrick Mullins at Carleton University where she received a BA in Criminology and Corrections. Patrick saw her walk into the residence cafeteria and waived, though they had never met. Shelley waived back, assuming she had forgotten a previous introduction. They were married in 1981. 

After returning to school at Algonquin college for a Public Relations Diploma, Shelley spent more than 20 years self-employed as public relations consultant, mainly in Ottawa’s vibrant tech sector. Shelley also gave her time to the community and charitable endeavors. In addition to being active on community associations, she sat on the board for Help Lesotho a local charity with an international aid focus. 

In 1999, Patrick and Shelley Joined the Royal Ottawa Golf Club. As Shelley and Patrick travelled throughout their lives together, they would laugh about the great golf courses around the world that she played with a 30 handicap.

She will be forever missed by not only her husband Patrick, but also their daughter Alexandra (Christopher McCluskey) and two grandchildren Emmett and Fiona.

Alexandra and Shelley were inseparable. Their joint exploits included constantly rearranging furniture, creating elaborate Halloween costumes, driving Alexandra’s Subaru up the side of Mont St. Marie for decorative birch sticks (still used today), ruining various baking projects, and “just going to see” puppies – returning a few hours later with Fergus. 

Not only was Shelley a dedicated mother to Alexandra, but she also was welcoming to all of Alexandra’s friends. The home in Stittsville became a hub of activity after school and on weekends. Later, when Alexandra moved back to Ottawa, Shelley instituted a regular Sunday drop in dinner for family and friends. She loved was a tremendous cook and loved to host family celebrations. 

In 2019, on her birthday, Shelley became a devoted grandmother (or Bibi) to Emmett. They were truly kindred spirits, building forts, dancing, and exploring. We are so grateful she also met baby Fiona who joined us in July 2023.

Shelley recently celebrated perhaps her greatest accomplishment: Convincing Patrick to buy a cottage. She spent much of her last years on Blue Sea Lake, swimming, paddling, and exploring ‘Mullins Forest’ with Emmett. 

Despite viewing herself as a shy person, Shelley was able to get someone’s life story in the time it took to complete a grocery check-out. She was famous for mishearing the lyrics to songs and confidently teaching them to others. Her family will think of her whenever they have a jingle stuck in their head.

Shelley and her sister Catherine (Glen) had a special bond and were close their whole lives. She was thrilled to welcome her nieces and nephews to Ottawa and loved being able to see them. She was beloved aunt to Meghan (Julian), Aaron (Jade), and Gillian (Michal) as well as great-aunt to Arthur, Henryk, and Isobel.

Shelley was also a special sister-in-law to Stephen, Catherine, Eloise (Doug), Anne Marie (George) and Ryan, aunt to Timothy, Megan, (Shannon), Sean (Jennifer), Melanie, Matthew (Lauren), Michael (Francesca) and Alisha, as well as a great-aunt to Brody, Charlize, Maverick, Harrison, and Harriett.

Cancer is a thief of time, and this disease took Shelley too early. Her family will forever be missing her warmth, love, and joyous spirit. 

We will hold a private celebration of life for Shelley in spring 2024.

In lieu of flowers we request a donation made to one of Shelley’s favoured charities, Help Lesotho, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, or Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.

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