Celebrating the life of Connie D. Shackelford
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Connie Deloris Shackelford (Clayborn), 71, of De Soto, KS, passed away Thursday, July 27, 2023. She was the daughter of Donald (Don) Clayborn and Sammie (Rose) Clayborn (Nelms) of Apache, Oklahoma. Connie was born on December 17, 1951, in Ft. Knox, Kentucky, but she grew up in San Jose, California alongside her two younger sisters, Terry and Vickie. Connie graduated from James Lick High School in 1970.
Connie married her first husband, Charles Penninger, when she was just eighteen. She had her first child, Charles, in 1973. After divorcing, Connie moved to Apache, Oklahoma to be closer to her parents and to help them run their service station. It is there that she met and married John Carroll Shackelford in 1976. Her daughter Johnna was born in 1977. Connie and John were married for 27 years until he passed away in 2003.
In 1986, Connie and John moved their family to De Soto, KS, where she remained for the rest of her life. Connie owned a successful cleaning business for many years, which included cleaning the De Soto Post Office as well as many homes throughout the Kansas City area. In her mid-forties, Connie decided to pursue her passion for cooking by enrolling in Johnson County Community College’s Culinary Arts program. After finishing the program, Connie worked as a caterer and in different restaurant positions. However, her lifelong dream was to own her own restaurant. Finally, Connie’s dream came true when she purchased a local joint in De Soto, which she owned until 2018, when her health made it difficult for her to continue working. Connie loved cooking for and serving her customers.
In 2004, Connie met Russell Peek who remained her longtime partner until her passing. Connie’s grandchildren have also been a very important part of her life. Her granddaughter Elenora lived with Connie already as a teenager, and more recently Elenora and her husband Ryan shared Connie’s home. Connie’s other grandchildren, Aylin and Selim Malici, lived far away in South Carolina, but visited often and enjoyed texting with their Nana.
Anyone who knew Connie, knew that she showed her love through her cooking. Cooking for her family, friends, and customers gave her so much pleasure. Connie loved seeing people enjoy her cooking and would explain whatever the particular trick was to get the recipe just right. Connie was a caretaker at heart. Over the years, she took care of various family members and friends when they were experiencing health issues. Connie’s selflessness, warmth, and compassion endeared her to so many.
Connie is survived by her son Charles Penninger and his partner Tiffany Wade of Asbury, Kansas; her daughter Johnna Malici (Shackelford) and her husband Akan Malici of Greenville, South Carolina; her three grandchildren, Elenora Verstraete (Penninger) of De Soto, Kansas and her husband Ryan Verstraete, and Aylin and Selim Malici of Greenville, South Carolina; Russell Peek, her longtime partner, of Shawnee, Kansas; her sisters Terry Hunter (Clayborn) of Grove, Oklahoma and Vickie Clayborn of Apache, Oklahoma; and her beloved dog Prancer. Connie is also survived by countless friends and family who loved her infectious laugh, warm hugs, and delicious food. Connie will be missed by so many.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, August 3rd from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Cedar Crest Memorial Chapel, 32665 Lexington Avenue, De Soto, KS, 66018.
In lieu of flowers, Connie’s family ask that you consider making a donation to the De Soto Food Pantry.
To plant a tree in memory of Connie D. Shackelford, visit the Tribute Store.
32665 Lexington Avenue
De Soto, KS 66018