Remembering Shelby Harris Decker

On Wednesday, Feb. 3, Shelby Harris Decker of Purcellville, loving wife and mother, passed away at the age of 81 in Berryville, Virginia. She courageously battled Alzheimer’s disease for 16 years. 

Decker was born on August 29, 1939 in Long Island, Virginia and raised in Norfolk and Chesapeake, Virginia. She graduated from Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake in 1958.

She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Robert R. Decker, Sr., and their four children Robert R. Decker, Jr., Laura D. Ward (Richard), Lisa D. Beatty (Tom), Dana L. Decker, and her four grandchildren Emily Beatty, Annie Beatty, Colin Ward, and Lillian Ward. She is survived by her sister Peggy H. Doxey (Issac) and many nieces and nephews. Decker was preceded in death by her parents Overton Fontaine and Annie Mae Harris, and a sister Juanita H. Weeber.

She was active during her lifetime in the Catholic Church of St. Francis de Sales in Purcellville. After raising her four children, she worked for the Farm Credit Administration, in McLean, Virginia. She retired in 1996. 

Decker had many hobbies, including traveling, painting, crocheting, knitting, and cooking. She loved gatherings with friends and relatives. Lately, she and her husband, enjoyed meeting with his FAA and federal retired friends. She was a devoted mother and grandmother with a beautiful smile and will be missed by all.
The family received friends, and held a funeral mass on Feb. 8, at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville. In Lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (, 225 N. Michigan Avenue, Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601 or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

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