Obituary for Mary Shelley Sigmond Goldsmith
Mary Shelley Sigmond Goldsmith, 19, of Abingdon, VA, passed away Saturday, August 31, 2013 with her family by her side. Shelley was a second year honors student at the University of Virginia as a Jefferson Scholar, a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority, and an Abingdon High School Honors Graduate, class of 2012.
Shelley more than anything else was a person committed to making the world a better place. She lived life to its fullest and gave 100% to everything she did. And because of this philosophy, she touched many lives.
Her love of life was contagious, whether it was leading a student council meeting or Venture Crew program, being involved in the activities of Girl Scouts or her church youth group. She volunteered at the food bank, worked for Democratic candidates, decorated cupcakes with her friends, all with confidence, enthusiasm, organization and a light heart.
She was a friend to people of all ages. And, she adored her friends! Recent Facebook postings by her friends revealed that the feeling was mutual. They consistently described Shelley as beautiful, intelligent, kind and caring, and an inspiration to others.
Her smile was her trademark and her delicate hands, an elegant attribute. She loved the outdoors. Shelley delighted in surprising her friends at UVA when she revealed that not only did she love to play tennis, hike and sail, but she could also drive a tractor and shoot quite proficiently.
Shelley found where she belonged when she became a part of the UVA family, and she thrived in her new home. She excelled academically and participated in numerous volunteer activities. She was passionate about her work with UVA’s Madison House and helping students from abroad. The BANGS! Stand On Issues campaign allowed her to combine her love of fashion with fundraising for various non-profit international economic development organizations.
Family was Shelley’s rock. She idolized her brother, perhaps even more so when he married and instantly gave her a ‘sister’ and shortly thereafter a nephew. Although she was only seven years old at the time, she filled the role of ‘aunt’ with exuberance and dedication. As the number of nephews grew from one to three, she embraced each one with the love of an aunt and the playfulness of a cousin.
Shelley received so many awards and accolades for her good works, it’s impossible to list them all. However, her proudest achievement was being named a UVA Jefferson Scholar. Always humbled by being part of her Jefferson Scholar class with so many truly outstanding people, she continually marveled at her good fortune in being one of them.
She was proud of achieving recognition as Valedictorian of the Sullins Academy Class of 2008. Shelley credited Sullins Academy with giving her a solid educational foundation and the personal confidence that catapulted her to academic success.
Her identity as an athlete was solidified early on: She was a key member of the Coomes Center swim team from the tender age of 5; she danced with Bristol Ballet and Dance Theater Suitcase; and, she played soccer for many years through Highlands Soccer Club. Her athleticism culminated when she joined the Abingdon High School Varsity Tennis team as a freshman. She loved being a team member and all aspects of the game.
Shelley was a member of Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church. She belonged to several service clubs at UVA, and worked at Boylan Heights Restaurant on The Corner in Charlottesville. Previous employment included work for New York Model Management, Glenrochie Country Club as a tennis pro and a premier babysitter of the highest caliber. She was preparing at college for a career in law and public service.
Shelley was a young woman born to make the world a better place. Her physical presence and disposition emanated light and compelled people to do good works in every aspect of their lives. To be sure, she was the embodiment of joy and sincerity, and always challenged others to do their best not only for themselves but for others.
She is survived by many, many dear friends and family.
Her family includes, parents: Rob & Dede Goldsmith; brother, Nico Leidig and wife Jane; nephews, Jasper, Wiley and Milo; maternal grandmother, Mary Sigmond of Edinburg, VA; paternal great aunt, Ruth Bendel; aunts and uncles, Alice and Bill Craig, Nel and Dennis Stubbs, Larry Sanders, Kristin Sigmond, Johanna and Bobby O’Toole and Ingrid and Billy Thompson; cousins, Candice and Derek Palmer and their two children; Christine Preston and her four children; Ben Hyneman, Eryn Hyneman (fiancé Bryant Bohannon) and her son, Dre; Maggie O’Toole, Jonathan O’Toole, Brooke Thompson and Will Thompson.
Shelley was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Dr. Robert H. Goldsmith and Mary Alice Glass Goldsmith, and her maternal grandfather, Capt. Arie C.A. Sigmond (USN).
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Shelley Goldsmith Memorial Scholarship Fund, 121 Jackson Street, N.E., Abingdon, VA, 24210 to be established at First Bank and Trust Company.
A public celebration of Shelley’s life will take place at 12 p.m. Saturday, September 7, 2013 at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, One Partnership Circle, Abingdon, VA, 24210.