We celebrate the long, large, and fruitful life of Dell M. Sheftall, whose earthly life began on August 22, 1924, and came to a peaceful end on June 22, 2018. Audrey Kelley Sheftall, his beloved wife, was, as always, by his side. They met in Sunday school when they were 13 and were married for over 75 years.
Dell Sheftall was industrious, generous, and larger than life. At one point during the Great Depression, 9-year-old Dell was the only one in his family with a job. He sold hot roasted peanuts on a city street corner to make the dime it took to bring home milk and bread to his family at the end of the day. He did not stop working until his retirement from Sheftall Jewelers at age 93.
As a young pre-law student at the University of Texas when Pearl Harbor was attacked, Dell immediately volunteered for military service and was deployed to the European Theater with the 103rd Infantry Division. He was twice offered a battlefield commission and declined out of loyalty to the men in his unit. Of the 153 of them, he was one of 14 who returned home alive. Despite having lived through the horrors of WWII, he chose to adopt a positive attitude and devote his energies to his work. Only in recent years did he begin to disclose some of what he lived during the war, including breaking the lock off a concentration camp gate with the butt of his Browning automatic rifle to liberate the prisoners.
Mr. Sheftall was very active in the Austin business community for many years and was president of the National Retail Jewelers Association. Beginning with a small store on the University Drag, he eventually owned and operated five jewelry stores in Austin and San Antonio. He and Audrey moved to Kerrville in 1999, intending to retire. It turned out that retirement did not suit his character. Missing the engagement of his work, he opened a jewelry store in Kerrville. Ever the entrepreneur, he never ceased developing ideas for new business ventures.
Though he loved being a jeweler, it was the interaction with people that gave him the greatest pleasure. He was a charismatic raconteur, and people of diverse ages and walks of life came in his store just to visit him and hear the rich stories from his extraordinary life.
We will never know how many lives he touched with his generosity. He was known to leave the store to take a homeless person to lunch. Some of those he helped lived with his family for months at a time until they could get on their feet.
Mr. Sheftall is survived by his wife, Audrey, their four children, Dell Sheftall, III (Gina Crews Sheftall), Kim Sheftall Curtis (Alan Curtis), Bill Sheftall (Anna Holekamp Sheftall), and Kelley Sheftall; grandchildren, Mary Claire Curtis, David Curtis, John-Michael Curtis, Elizabeth Sheftall, Allison Sheftall, and Matt Sheftall; sister, Virginia Sheftall Lemon; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, De La Motta Sheftall, Sr. and Alice Elliott Sheftall, as well as his sister, Catherine Sheftall Wright.
The Sheftall family would like to thank Teresa Barron, Maria Charnichart, Kathy Jamison, Debbie Northrup, Ivana Jaime, Zarena Sexton, and Denise Gonzales for caring for Mr. and Mrs. Sheftall with kindness and devotion. Special thanks also to Rick and Angela of Peterson Hospice, and James A. Young, M.D.
Visitation Tuesday, June 26, 6:00 – 8:00pm at Grimes Funeral Chapels, Kerrville, TX
Funeral (and reception) Wednesday, June 27, 11:00 am at First Presbyterian Church, Kerrville, TX
Interment Friday, June 29, time to be determined at Memorial Park Cemetery, Austin, TX
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the charity of choice.
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