Shelby Olsen Obituary

Shelby Colette Isabella  Olsen
Shelby Colette Isabella Olsen

May 21, 2000 - June 20, 2019
Born in Norwich, CT
Resided in Gales Ferry, CT


Gales Ferry-Shelby Colette Isabella Olsen, 19, “Bella” to those who knew and loved her, “Buggah” to her adoring cousins, of Gales Ferry, CT and Charlestown, RI, died Thursday, June 20, 2019, the result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.

Shelby was born May 21, 2000, in Norwich, CT, the daughter of Lola Grace Colette and Thomas Wayne Olsen, baby sister to Alexis Victoria Grace Olsen. She was a member of Ledyard High School’s graduating Class of 2018 and just completed a very successful freshman year at her mother’s alma mater, Emmanuel College in Boston, where she was a member of the women’s soccer team and earned a place on the Dean’s List both semesters, as she pursued her studies in Psychology.

A vibrant force of nature, Shelby was intelligent, articulate, and animated. With her father, she shared a passion for soccer, and they spent countless hours watching games, sharing clips, and travelling the region as Shelby competed with Southeast Soccer Club. With her mother, she shared a thirst for knowledge, and they loved sharing books or debating current issues. With her sister, she shared an unbreakable bond that stretched through Barbies and bike riding well into adulthood. And with all who loved her, she shared herself, quick with a joke, a hug, or a few well-shaped words of encouragement.

In her time at Ledyard High School, Shelby was an athlete, a singer, and a studious young woman who graduated with highest honors. Some of her proudest accomplishments were her tenure as the President of the Ledyard Regional Chapter of the FFA and her acceptance into a special group of like-minded changemakers when she was named as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar.

Shelby is survived by her parents and their partners, Patrick Knapp (and his sons, Michael and Conor) and Cindy Olsen (and her daughters, Julia Driscoll and Shelby Morrison); her sister Alexis Victoria Grace Olsen and partner Michael O’Callaghan; her maternal grandparents, Luis and Jenny Suarez and her maternal great grandfather, Juan Vazquez Sr.; her paternal grandparents, Wayne and Kathy Olsen; her aunts, Jennifer (Christopher) Natale and Amanda (Tim) Fagan; her uncles, Michael (Michele) Olsen and Patrick Olsen; and three sets of three cousins -- Noah, Max, and Jake Werling; Zoe, Xara, and Ezri Olsen; and Boden, Declan, and Hope Fagan -- who believed the sun rose and set with her beautiful soul.

The family will receive relatives and friends on Tuesday (June 25th) from 5 to 7 pm at the Neilan Funeral Home, 48 Grand St., Niantic.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic church in Gales Ferry on Wednesday, June 26 at 10:00am. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, please continue Shelby’s legacy with a donation in her name to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Trust Fund, via or by mail to PO Box 1308, New London, CT 06320.

Online condolences may be shared with Shelby’s family at





Calling Hours
Thomas L. Neilan & Sons East Lyme Funeral Home
48 Grand Street
Niantic, CT US 06357
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

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