Longtime Rector Residents Named Grand Marshals
When the crowds gather along the route from Main Street to Rector Memorial Park for the community's annual Labor Day Picnic, everyone will have the chance to wave at one of Rector's most respected couples, Norman and Louise Shelton. The Sheltons were selected by the planning committee organizing the celebration as grand marshals for the annual parade.
"It's an honor," Louise said. "It came as a shock to us. We're happy to be the grand marshals for Labor Day."
Norman, who will celebrate his 86th birthday on Aug. 29, and Louise, 83, have been married for 67 years. Norman has called this area home his entire life, growing up in the White Oak area. Louise was born in El Paso, Ark. near Beebe, but did some work in the area in her youth before moving to White Oak in 1946.
"We've been going to the Labor Day Picnic since the 40s, not long after it started," Norman said. "Now, we're part of the parade. It's going to be fun to see the parade from the other side for a change."
Norman and Louie Cordell, Louise's twin brother, helped with repairs to two city floats which will featured in the annual parade. The Sheltons have always been active. Norman grew up on a farm, and continued farming until 1985. He stayed busy by doing yard work, which turned into a small business after retirement. He still keeps up six lawns today. Louise grew up working in the fields, as well. When the couple married, she took on additional duties before joining the staff of Rector Sportswear, where she worked for 28 years, retiring in 1998. She later worked several more years at the school cafeteria.
The Sheltons raised two sons, the Keith and the late Larry Shelton, and two daughters, Karen Turner and Dana Street. The couple enjoys visits with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
"One of our grandsons told his mother he had never been to Labor Day here, but that he was coming here for this one, and that was that," Norman laughed. "Everyone is excited about us (being grand marshals)."
The Sheltons have been members of New Life Pentecostal Church in Rector since 1951. The couple enjoys attending services with their church family.
"That's always been our church," Norman said. "We've been members for 63 years."
The Sheltons were an ideal choice as grand marshals, according to committee member Teresa Roofe.
"They're such a wonderful couple," Roofe said. "They're really good people who have meant a great deal to our community."
The Sheltons will lead the annual Rector Labor Day Parade beginning at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 1.