Cover photo for Jay Shelp's Obituary
Jay Shelp Profile Photo
1933 Jay 2023

Jay Shelp

August 7, 1933 — September 29, 2023

Sheldon, Iowa


Jay Shelp

Sheldon, Iowa

Jay Shelp, age 90, of Sheldon, Iowa passed away on Friday, September 29, 2023, at the Sanford Senior Care in Sheldon, Iowa.  His Memorial Service will be at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at the First Reformed Church in Sheldon, Iowa with Rev. Dave Van Kley ~ Officiating.

Burial will be at a later date in the East Lawn Cemetery in Sheldon, Iowa.

Visitation with the family will follow the service on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 in the Fellowship Hall of First Reformed Church in Sheldon, Iowa.


          Services for Jay Shelp will be Live Streamed thru the First Reformed Church Web Page


Arrangements are under the care of the Vander Ploeg Funeral Home in Sheldon.







August 7, 1933

Auburn, Iowa


September 29, 2023

Sheldon, Iowa



90 years 1 month 22 days



10:00 A.M Wednesday, October 4, 2023

First Reformed Church; Sheldon, Iowa

Rev. Dave Van Kley ~ Officiating



“Untitled Hymn”

sung by John Shelp


Processional: “It Is Well With My Soul”

Recessional: “Holy, Holy, Holy”

Pianist: Jody Van Kley



All of Jay’s Grandchildren & Great Grandchildren



At a later date

East Lawn Cemetery ~ Sheldon, Iowa


After today’s service relatives and friends are invited to join the family

in the fellowship hall of the church.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Sheldon High School Drama Department

or the Jay Shelp Community Theatre, in Jay's memory


Arrangements under the care of the

Vander Ploeg Funeral Home; Sheldon, Iowa




     Jay Forrest Shelp, a beloved educator and dedicated theater enthusiast, passed away in Sheldon, Iowa, at the age of 90, with his daughter Kiki by his side. Born and baptized in Auburn, Iowa, Jay's life was marked by a passion for drama and a commitment to nurturing young talents in the world of theater.

     For close to four decades, Jay dedicated himself to the Sheldon High School community as a high school drama teacher. His influence extended far beyond the classroom, as he inspired countless students to discover their artistic voices and embrace the magic of the stage. Jay's tireless dedication to his craft left an indelible mark on the lives of his students, many of whom went on to pursue successful careers in theater and entertainment.

     Jay's love for the performing arts didn't stop with the school year. He tirelessly ran a summer theater program for high school students, one of the only programs in the nation, providing them with invaluable opportunities to explore their creative potential. Under his guidance, young actors and actresses, directors, and set designers blossomed, gaining confidence and life skills through the art of drama.

     His eye for design, creativity and carpentry knowledge led to his signature, truly amazing sets, for each production. He could be known as one of the least dramatic “drama” teachers of all time, his humble nature allowed others to be the center of attention. 

     He loved to work hard (and rest hard), often falling back on his construction roots as a young man on the farm, fully constructing the family's two car garage with a few colleagues, as well as fixing…. EVERYTHING.   He enjoyed being outside, playing tennis, camping with the kids, and reading, when he wasn’t watching his beloved Iowa Hawkeyes.

     Beyond his professional accomplishments, Jay was a devoted family man. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 58 years, Katy (Neeley). He is survived by his three cherished children, Katy (Dave) Evenson, Anne (Peter) Jacobson, and John (Julie) Shelp. Jay was the proud grandfather of 12 grandchildren and the great-grandfather of 10 great-grandchildren, each of whom he adored and supported in their individual pursuits. Jay's legacy of passion for the arts and dedication to education lives on through them.

Jay was not only a dedicated educator and family man but also a devoted Christian. He was a faithful member of Bethel Reformed Church in Sheldon, where he served as a Deacon and Elder, exemplifying his unwavering commitment to his faith community. He was a member of the pastoral search committee, once camping with the family across the country to recruit a new Pastor in New York City. 

     Jay Forrest Shelp will be remembered for his significant contributions to the world of theater, his loving family, and his deep faith. His impact on the Sheldon community and the lives he touched will be cherished and celebrated for generations to come.

     Rest in peace, Jay Forrest Shelp. Your final curtain call may have come, but your influence on the world of theater, your family's hearts, and your faith community will endure forever.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jay Shelp, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

10:00 - 10:45 am (Central time)

First Reformed Church

1101 7th St., Sheldon, IA 51201

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Wednesday, October 4, 2023

10:45 - 11:45 am (Central time)

First Reformed Church

1101 7th St., Sheldon, IA 51201

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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