John James Shelby (1940-2010) (cntd.)
Soon afterwards one of Elke's sisters and her family moved to New Zealand; in 1973, when Britain was suffering austerity and the 3-day working week, Elke and John joined them. John worked alongside his brother-in-law as a store keeper for an agricultural equipment supplier and Elke worked in the accounts office. They lived in a small town called Feilding, north of Wellington. John particularly enjoyed the slower pace of life and they made some very good friends but in 1981, after Elke’s sister had returned to Germany and Johns father’s health had deteriorated, they decided to return to Bath.
They rented a flat in Apsley Road until Johns father died, after which they stayed with his step-mother for a while. With money he inherited from his father, they were able to buy their first property in Valley View Road, Paulton, then, following the death of John’s step-mother in 1994, they moved to "Hillside", Goosard Lane in High Littleton. At that time John was working in a small antiquarian bookshop in Abbey Yard, Bath. When this closed down, he became a carer at the Woodlands Grove Home for the Elderly in Bath, where he worked for thirteen years until his retirement. It was shortly after this, in 2008, that John was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. He refused surgery but chemotherapy brought a period of remission. Sadly, the cancer returned with a vengeance in January 2010 and despite aggressive chemo and radiotherapy, he died at home at 4 a.m. on 31 May 2010, with Elke and two of their best friends at his bedside.
During his last months Elke was herself undergoing aggressive six week blocks of chemo for lung cancer. Since John did not drive and Elke was too ill to do so they were dependent on others for transport. A friend had arranged a short stay in Dorothy House Hospice for her, while arrangements were made for her to be cared for at home but her condition deteriorated and she died there, also at 4am, on 8 December. John and Elke are buried together in Holy Trinity Church Graveyard, High Littleton.
Until their illness both John and Elke had been keen walkers covering at least 2 and up to 8 miles every day, they were members of the Cam Valley Wildlife trust and active members of Timsbury Horticultural Society; John enjoyed working in his garden. They were also members of the wine circle and the local history groups in the U3A. John also enjoyed reading and history. For many years he was a member of the Radstock and Midsomer Norton Lions Club, spending some time serving on its Activities Committee. Elke described John as "a quiet, unassuming man, a real gentleman. He was thoughtful and considerate and loved caring for other people." They had no children. --->