Beauty Fashion 10

Coralee Whitley Callins-Shelton

May 30, 1925 ~ May 11, 2022 (age 96)

Obituary

Coralee Whitley Callins-Shelton, the second daughter of William Leon Whitley, Jr. and Nanearl Eleanor Flemings Whitley was conceived in Berkeley, CA, yet, born in New Orleans, LA on May 30, 1925, because her mother yearned to be with Coralee’s grandmother, Cora, at the time of her birth.  Six weeks later, they returned to Berkeley. She was sister to her late siblings: Leona Edna May Whitley Williams and Gail Herbert “Buddy” Whitley.

Coralee attended schools within the Berkeley Unified School District, such as Longfellow Elementary and Burbank Junior High.  She graduated from Berkeley High School in 1943, where she was one of only seven African American students in the entire graduating class of five hundred forty-seven students.

Coralee received Christ as her personal savior at the early age of seven at McGee Avenue Baptist Church, Berkeley, CA under the leadership of Reverend J.D. Wilson. She served God in many capacities. For decades, Coralee donated her time and resources as the lead decorator for a multitude of events held for McGee and its parishioners’ benefit. She was a member of the church’s Mother’s Ministry and as a member of the Berkeley Church Women United. Coralee became a Deacon for McGee Avenue Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend Mark Wilson.

Coralee’s 30-year marriage to Preston Callins lasted until his passing in 1979.  Her union with Edward Shelton, in 2008, lasted seven years until he passed in 2015.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Coralee was an industrious woman, holding positions within the federal government. In the 1940s she was stationed in Oakland, CA, and in the 1950s she was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. Coralee also held sales positions with Lindberg’s and Irene Sargent, Oakland’s high-end women’s apparel shops. Coralee was granted a Golden Retirement from Kaiser Aluminum, Oakland, CA after working for Edgar F. Kaiser.

Coralee was an active member of organizations within the Greater Bay Area and San Francisco communities. She was President of the Berkeley Silhouettes Club as a teen, and one of the founders of the C’est La Vie Social Club. In addition, she enjoyed being a member of the Hi Rollers and served as Worthy Matron for the Rebecca Chapter Number 56 Order of the Eastern Star Prince Hall Rite of Adoption. 

Coralee was known for her graceful beauty and style.  For decades, she was nominated to the list of best-dressed Black Women in the Greater Bay Area and San Francisco. Most notably, Coralee was featured as one of the Nation’s best dress women in the 1964 issue of the Ebony Magazine.  Coralee and her club members from the C’est La Vie Social Club held fashion shows raising funds for the benefit of churches and civil rights organizations.

Coralee was preceded in death by her parents William Leon and Nanearl, husbands Preston and Edward, sister Leona, brother Buddy, and niece Coralee Willis Malone.  She is survived in loving memory by her nieces and nephews: Nanearl Toussaint-Touson (Jessea), Melvia Nancy Gray-Smith, Milton Leon Williams, Jeffrey A. Gray (Patricia), Michele Gray-Samuel, Michael A. Willis (Nakisha), Philip Whitley Toussaint-Touson (Kristima), Stacey Toussaint-Touson, Robert Boyd, William and Jonathan Gray, Alexander and Brianna Samuel, Xavier and Aliyah Willis, Cynthia and Cecilei Kelley Ayinda Evans, Leon Cobb, Nanearl, Jessea, and Mario Toussaint-Touson, and a host of other loving relatives and friends.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Coralee Whitley Callins-Shelton, please visit our floral store.

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 Service Program


Services

Viewing
Thursday
May 26, 2022

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Mt. View Cemetery
5000 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

Please note

Family and friends are invited to RSVP to this service.


Funeral Service
Thursday
May 26, 2022

12:00 PM
Mt. View Cemetery
5000 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

Please note

Family and friends are invited to RSVP to this service.


Entombment

Mt. View Cemetery
5000 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

Please note
VIEWING, FUNERAL SERVICE AND INTERMENT WILL BE AT THE LARGE MAUSOLEUM CHAPEL. IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, PLEASE DONATE, IN HER NAME, TO MC GEE AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH.

Donations

Mc Gee Avenue Baptist Church
1640 Stuart St., Berkeley CA 94703
Tel: 1-510-843-1774
Email: info@mcgeeave.org
Web: https://www.mcgeeave.org/

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