ONEONTA - Freda (Beliles) Shultis "Fritz," 94, died peacefully at Fox Nursing Home in Oneonta, on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017.
Freda was born on Sept. 27, 1923, in Jones Township, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Sarah Bidgood and Christos Beliles.
After her father's unexpected passing, she and her siblings thrived at the Randolph Children's Home, Randolph, where she enjoyed participating in band, swimming and cheerleading before graduating.
Known for her fierce determination to excel all her life, Freda used both her inner drive and encouragement from the Randolph Home's staff to get accepted to and then attend Cobleskill College. At college she met the love of her life, Edmund Shultis Jr. He was a native of Oneonta and it was in Oneonta that they married on Sept. 3, 1942, shortly before he entered service in the United States Army during World War II.
A staunch patriot, Freda worked at the mica plant on Chestnut Street and also followed her new husband to several base assignments around the country. On her birthday in 1944, her first son, Edmund III, was born. When the war ended, they settled in Oneonta and in 1949, she gave birth to her second son, Larry Robert.
With the encouragement of her husband, Freda went back to college to finish her first degree in elementary education at SUCO. In 1957, she became a first grade teacher at Valleyview School, the year it opened. A lifelong and passionate advocate for children, she loved every day she spent with her pupils. In 1964, she accepted a position at Bugbee School to teach first and later sixth grade. Always looking to improve her abilities and children's education as much as possible, she returned to graduate school and earned a master's degree in education. Later in her career, she took a faculty position at SUCO as a supervisor of student teachers where she trained and inspired future teachers to dedicate themselves to the education of children. Freda rounded out her career by working with SUCO's RIM team to develop resources and instructional materials for use in elementary education.
She retired in the late 1980's. It was a bittersweet day for her when she retired to spend more time with her family and friends and she was always thrilled to run into former students everywhere she went.
In retirement, Freda embraced community involvement and attending and supporting her family at countless concerts, dance recitals, sports events and birthday parties. She participated in fundraising efforts for the Randolph Children's Home, for which she was an enthusiastic board member. She served as president of the Women's Club of Oneonta, was a member of the Ladies Red Hat Society and the American Legion Auxiliary. She and Ed helped to raise money for the new YMCA on Ford Avenue and the Upstate Children's Home. Freda was a very active member of the First United (Red Door) Presbyterian Church.
No matter how many community projects she took on, her first love was always for her family and friends, whether it was boating, swimming, vacationing, crafting, eating lunch at Breese's, hosting countless get-togethers or playing games. She and Edmund delighted in their children, grandchildren and even great and great-great grandchildren. She was always "rarin' to go" and it wasn't unusual for her to show up at 8 p.m. with a hot meal and an offer to play any games the kids wanted. She loved celebrating her family and creating memories with photos, birthday songs, poems and always an offer to go for a meal at the Neptune Diner.
She is survived by her sons, Edmund George Shultis III (Beth) of Schenevus and Larry Robert Shultis (Dorothy) of Oneonta. She is also survived by her sister, Mary Havers of Olean; and three granddaughters, Michelle Shultis Swiderski, Adaline Shultis (Nathan) and Sarah Zakala (Nathan); as well as scads of great- and great-great-grandchildren.
She is predeceased by her husband, Edmund Francis Shultis Jr.; siblings, Frances, Katherine, George, Anna, Nickolas, Marieka, Sophia; and granddaughter, Stephanie Shultis Hurlburt.
A service of remembrance will be held in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Freda's name may be made to the Randolph Children's Home at www.randolphchildrenshome.org.
Share condolences at www.lhpfuneralhome.com.
The Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, 51 Dietz St., Oneonta, is assisting the family.
Published on December 26, 2017