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Jeffery “Jeff” Lee Shively of Redding died Tues., Aug. 26, 17 months after the death of his youngest son, Matthew Shively, 20.
Cancer killed them both.
Jeff was 54.
He was my brother-in-law, married to my twin, Shelly Shively. Jeff was a neuropsychologist, and an early expert-contributor to Food for Thought.
In January he wrote his first monthly column for us. The next month – on Shelly and Jeff’s Valentine’s Day wedding anniversary – he was diagnosed with late-stage esophageal cancer.
When I think of Jeff I remember a handsome, quiet-natured guy with a sweet smile and adorable dimples. I remember the time he was keeping an eye on my then-baby Sarah, who crawled into a wet, ashy backyard hibachi. The photo of a smiling Jeff holding a laughing, sooty Sarah remains one of my favorites.
Jeff had some distinct food preferences. He regarded popcorn as a special food group, and hardly a day went by that he didn’t eat some. He liked Domino’s pizza, thin crust, cheese only. He loved homemade pasta with butter. His idea of the perfect dessert was vanilla ice cream. He liked Folger’s coffee, black; the weaker the better. He spoke fondly of his grandmothers’ cooking; his Grandma Shively’s Red Velvet Cake, and his Grandmother Fawcett’s Golden Rod Toast.
Jeff was a Hoosier, born May 11, 1954 in Kokomo, Ind., where he spent his formative years on his grandparents’ farm. Even as a toddler, Jeff accompanied his grandfather, Levi Fawcett, as they plowed the fields for hours on end. Jeff often fell asleep on his grandfather’s lap to the sound of the tractor in the Indiana air.
He was a gifted athlete, and played nearly all sports. Being a “lefty” made him a natural for first base, where he aspired to become a professional baseball player. He loved music, and played the cello and trombone. In junior high school he was one of the youngest musicians in the community college symphony.
He took competition to another level, and could turn anything into a contest, whether it was Scrabble (“losers pick the game up”), one-on-one basketball, racquetball, running, raking leaves or dieting.
After high school Jeff decided college wasn’t for him, but he changed his mind after working two years on a Chrysler transmission-building assembly line.
At 20 Jeff moved from Indiana to California, where he enrolled in Shasta College to pursue a degree in music. Jeff switched his major to psychology after working as a counselor for Bethel Church street ministry, Salt House. At 21, Jeff married 19-year-old Shelly Chamberlain in a ceremony where the theme was denim and red gingham.
They worked to put Jeff through each of his degrees while starting their young family. Love of the mountains led them to raise their family in South Lake Tahoe from 1988 until 2002, when they returned to Redding to be close to family and establish a practice in neuropsychology.
He earned a variety of psychology degrees: a B.A. from Southern California College, Costa Mesa, an M.A. from California State University, Sacramento, and a Ph.D from the United States International University, San Diego. He earned a Postdoctoral Respecialization in Neuropsychology from the Fielding Institute, San Francisco.
He was a California and Indiana-Certified Psychologist, California-Certified Neuropsychologist, and a Certified Life Care Planner. Jeff was a member of the National Academy of Neuropsychology, Coalition of Clinical Practitioners in Neuropsychology, National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, and the American Psychological Association.
He leaves his wife of 32 years, Shelly Shively, their daughter Brooke Bartimioli, her husband Justin and their daughter, May Bartimioli, all of Redding. Oldest son, Aaron Shively, resides in Sacramento.
He leaves his mother Betty Grondalski of Atwater, father William Shively of Manchester, Ind., sister Cynthia Kilpatrick, of Fair Oaks, and brother Jim Grondalski and sister Barbara Hunsuck of Atwater. He leaves sister Laura Mathiowetz of New London, Conn., and brother John Grondalski of Los Alamos, N.M. He leaves sisters Amy Geary of Kokomo, Ind., Anjanet Shively of Indianapolis, Ind., and brother Justin Shively of Bloomington, Ind.
He leaves scores of in-laws, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed on this earth, and in the lives of those who loved him.
A farm boy at heart, and one whose greatest love was the Lord, Jeff lived a life of conviction, humility, self-deprecation and excruciating honesty.
Jeff was devoted to his family, and cherished time together, even when his kids, nieces and nephews eventually beat him at Scrabble, one-on-one basketball and tennis. Jeff loved being a father, and was overjoyed to become a first-time grandfather last summer, and was extremely proud of his new title, “Jeffpa” which joined some of his other affectionately bestowed nicknames: “Shives” and “Grandma Jeff”.
On Aug. 13 he achieved his final personal challenge; to attend his granddaughter’s 1st birthday party.
‘Jeffery Shively, Ph.D.’, had a passion for learning about the brain, and his compassion for serving his patients has no measure. The depth of Jeff’s departure will be great in his private practice, as well as California Forensic Group, and El Dorado County, Sacramento; Alpine County Superior Court systems; Adult and Juvenile Probation, Public Defender’s Office, Child Protective Services, Department of Rehabilitation, and Department of Social Services Disability Division.
A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held 4 p.m., Mon., Sept. 8, at Bethel Church in Redding.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Jeff and Matt’s names to Mercy Hospice in care of Mercy Foundation North, 2400 Washington Ave., Suite 410, Redding, CA 96001 or to the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in care of Bethel Church, 933 College Ave., Redding, CA 96001.
A reception will follow Jeff’s service at Bethel Church.
Refreshments will be served, including popcorn.
Special thanks to my sisters, Shelly Shively and Bethany Chamberlain, as well as Jeff’s mother Betty Grondalski, and Jeff’s sister, Cindy Kilpatrick, for their contributions to this obituary.