‘She cared and gave to others’: First person killed by coronavirus in Indiana leaves behind legacy of giving

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Friends and family are honoring the memory of the first person to die from coronavirus in Indiana.

That victim, Roberta Shelton, passed away in the hospital earlier this week.

Just last month Shelton helped organize a benefit for a family in need. That was the last in a series of charitable concerts she organized over the years.

Her friends hope she’s remembered for her work helping others.

In September 2017, Shelton stood in the background after coordinating a fundraiser for the families of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, the two girls murdered near a walking trail in Delphi earlier that year.

“Her gift was caring and loving and being involved in the community.  That's what she did,” said Robert Fetters.

Fetters met Shelton, better known by her friends as "Birdie," 30 years ago.

“To me she was special.  She cared and gave to others,” said Fetters.

Last month, after another woman, Sheena Estep, passed away, Birdie once again called on local musicians to hold a benefit for the family of Fetter’s fiancée.

“I'd like her to be remembered for the angel she was.  She helped so many families including my fiancée's,” said Fetters.

Before getting sick and ultimately dying from COVID-19,. Birdie had not recently traveled outside the country.

Fetters hopes the illness doesn't distract from her legacy of generosity.

“Unfortunately, she'll always be associated with this terrible tragedy we're dealing with as a nation, but I think Birdie's story is unique,” said Fetters.  “She helped people.  That's what she did.”

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