Forest Shely

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Forest Franklin Shely
Born (1924-06-20)June 20, 1924
Anderson County
Kentucky, US
Died August 30, 2010(2010-08-30) (aged 86)
Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky
Resting place Brookside Cemetery in Campbellsville, Kentucky
Residence Campbellsville, Kentucky
Alma mater Campbellsville University
Georgetown College
Washington and Jefferson College
Yale University
University of Louisville Health Sciences Center
Occupation Physician
Trustee from 1954 to 2010 of Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky
Political party Republican[1]
Spouse(s) Roberta Hale Shely (married 1947–2006, her death)
Children Bill Shely
Jacque S. Blackwelder
Deborah S. Edwards
Karen S. McMahan
Carla S. Corbin
Eight grandchildren
Parent(s) Forest Wyatt and Blance Brown Shely

Forest Franklin Shely (June 20, 1924 – August 30, 2010)[2] was a physician from Campbellsville, Kentucky, who served as a trustee at the Baptist-affiliated Campbellsville University for fifty-six years.


Shely (pronounced SHE LEE) was the older of two sons born to Forest Wyatt Shely (1901–1976),[2] a graduate of Berea College, a schoolteacher and a Baptist layman, and the former Blanche Brown in Lawrenceburg in Anderson County near Frankfort, Kentucky. Wyatt Shely, as he was known, wrote a column for the Anderson News as well as several church histories. The younger Shely son, Robert Edward Shely, Forest Shely's brother, was born in 1930 and died in 1955, leaving behind a young widow and a son, Brent Shely, later Brent Owen of Williamsburg, Virginia.[3] Forest Shely graduated in 1941 from Western High School in Sinai, also in Anderson County, where his father was on the faculty.[4]

Shely attended Campbellsville University, then known as Campbellsville Junior College, from 1941 to 1943, where he was named the "Best All-Around Student."[5] He served in the United States Army during World War II.[3] He then continued his studies at Georgetown College, a small Baptist institution in Georgetown, Kentucky, Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania,[5] and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, from which he graduated in 1946. From 1946 to 1947, Shely attended Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1949, he graduated from the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center in Louisville, Kentucky.[6] He interned from 1949 to 1950 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.[5]

Medical career[edit]

Shely was a giant figure in Taylor County and a highly respected physician with wide influence in health care in the Lake Cumberland Area Development District.[7]

In 1950, Shely established his initial practice in Louisa in Lawrence County in far eastern Kentucky. In 1963, he returned to Campbellsville, where he had begun college twelve years earlier, to open his medical practice, which he maintained there until his retirement in 1997.[6] His office was at 603 E 1st St.[8]

Shely was the medical director of several area nursing homes and the first administrator of Taylor County Hospital. He served as chairman of both the Taylor County and Lake Cumberland district boards of health. He was a member of the Taylor County Mental Health Board, Taylor County Public Library Board, and the Campbellsville-Taylor County Rescue Advisory Board.[3]

Civic leadership[edit]

Shely was chairman of the board of Citizens Bank and Trust Company in Campbellsville. He was a member and past president of Campbellsville Rotary International. He was also a half-century member of Gideons International.[3] In 2003, Shely was named one of the first two recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award given for community service by Campbellsville University.[6]

Shely served from 1954 until his death on the Campbellsville University board, including the longest period as chairman of any other member of the body. William Randolph Davenport, the president of the previously named Campbellsville College from 1969 to 1988, said that Dr. Shely's "knowledge of our operations, insights, wisdom, and guidance were invaluable – nothing short of God's gifts to me through those many years. Only God knows fully the value and eternal effects of his contributions to, and influence on, our university."[9]

Davenport's successor as president, Kenneth W. Winters, a member of the Kentucky State Senate, recalls Shely as "a true mentor to me. He became our family physician and a dear friend. Seldom do you find a person so dedicated to an institution as Dr. Shely was to Campbellsville University.[9] Current CU president Michael V. Carter similarly noted that Shely provided "skilled medical care to thousands of people in this community and region, and his numerous contributions have been inestimable in value and impact."[9]

Family and death[edit]

On April 6, 1947, Shely married the former Roberta "Bobbie" Hale (September 30, 1922 – February 23, 2006)[2] of Springfield, Kentucky, and a 1942 graduate of Campbellsville University.[4] In 1988, Shely and his wife received Distinguished Service awards from CU.[9] The Shelys had a son, Bill Shely and wife, Cathy, of Morehead, Kentucky, and four daughters, Jacque Blackwelder and husband, Denis of Old Hickory, Tennessee, Deborah S. Edwards of Lexington, and, from Campbellsville, Karen S. McMahan and Carla S. Corbin and husband, Dale Corbin. There were also seven living grandchildren and one deceased.[3]

Shely died in Campbellsville of cardiovascular disease at the age of eighty-six. Services were held in his home church, Campbellsville Baptist Church, where he was a deacon and Sunday school teacher for many years. Burial was in the Parrott-Turner-Dabney Addition of Brookside Cemetery in Campbellsville.[3]


  1. ^ "Campbellsville, KY: Political Contributions by Individuals". Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Social Security Death Index". Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Dr. Forest F. Shely, Age 86". Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Anderson County, Kentucky. Paducah Kentucky: Turner Publishing Co. 1991. p. 146. ISBN 1-56311-007-5. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c William Lynwood Montell, Tales from Kentucky Doctors. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-2482-7. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Joan C. McKinney, Campbellsville University presents first Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Obituary: Dr. Forest F. Shely, 86, Taylor Co., KY". Columbia, Kentucky: Columbia Magazine. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Forest Shely, MD". Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d Joan C. McKinney, "Campbellsville University Board of Trustee member since 1954, Dr. Forest F. Shely dies," The Campbellsvillian: The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of Campbellsville University, Vol. 9, No. 2 (November 2010), p. 12