Shelly Rae Hjelvik Link


Shelly Rae Hjelvik Link


Shelly Link

Surrounded by her loving family, Shelly Rae Hjelvik Link passed peacefully from this life on Aug. 17, 2017, at Billings Clinic. Although blessed with excellent health and having no symptoms of illness, 13 days after complaining of a headache, she was overtaken by Stage IV Melanoma.

Shelly met the love of her life, John G. Link IV, on Feb. 5, 2000. They married exactly one year later and began building a life together in Red Lodge. Shelly and Johnny’s love for each other was radiant, and was demonstrated daily through robust humor, unshakable optimism and warm fellowship with friends near and far.

As a clear-eyed realist, Shelly was inspirational. “Build a bridge and get over it,” she would advise someone who was slow to resolve a problem. Whether motivating, joining, leading or following, she connected to everyone around her and made them feel special.

Shelly loved spending time with Johnny in their peaceful Red Lodge home, known as “the sanctuary.” Whether hosting a party for dozens of friends or spending time alone with Johnny and their dogs, she treasured their special place. “Being home is all we need,” she often told her husband. Shelly appreciated the beauty in everyday objects she called “my treasures,” and enthusiastically decorated every room in their home for Christmas. She was a gifted gardener who grew beautiful flowers and collected pinecones she described as “God’s miracles.”

A devoted daughter, Shelly telephoned her parents, John and Donna Hjelvik, every morning in a “wakeup call,” to chat about the day. No matter where they were, at home or traveling, she tracked them down — until she was admitted to the hospital.

Frugal, precise and grounded, Shelly examined the family budget every Sunday morning. Yet she enjoyed letting Johnny talk her into wonderful vacations, usually traveling with dear friends.

Shelly actively supported Johnny’s interest in softball, hockey and alpine skiing and she became the “mom” of every team, baking for the squad. Despite having poor vision, she especially loved golfing with Johnny. Exercise was important to her and, in warm weather, she explored Red Lodge area hiking trails several times a week. She bought a lottery ticket each week, announcing that if she won she would buy land in Red Lodge and create a community space for kids to gather and grow stronger through healthy programs. It would be called “Shelly’s Place.”

Sadly, these dreams were cut short. On the evening of Aug. 17, scores of friends joined in a candlelight vigil in Red Lodge, a “Shelly Rally.” It was streamed via Internet to Shelly’s hospital room. Yet her own candle of life was rapidly dimming, and Shelly Link passed away a few hours later.

Born July 19, 1962, in Columbus, Shelly was proud to have attended a one-room schoolhouse with her brother and sisters in Nye through the eighth grade. She graduated from Absarokee High School in 1980, then Kinman Business College in Spokane, Washington. Having mastered property title and escrow services, she was a professional for Chicago Title in Billings and American Title and Escrow in Red Lodge for the past 30 years.

Shelly Rae Hjelvik Link, wife of John G. Link IV, was the daughter of John and Donna (Mouat) Hjelvik of Nye. She also leaves her eldest sister, Laurie Winter of Ashland, Oregon, and her children Zach of Rochester, MN and Nick (Chloe) and their children Max and Clark of San Francisco. Shelly is also survived by her older sister, Tracey (Mike) Gates of Hysham, and their children Crystal (Tyler) Reichhoff and their daughter Paige of Bozeman and Heidi (Logan) McDonald of Laurel; and her younger brother Mikol (Amanda) Hjelvik and their children Matisen (Cody), Remington and Dawson. She is also survived by her daughter Brande (Clayton) Young of Absarokee and their children Caitlin, Keara and Tysen, and also special family friend Kaitlin Wolff.

Shelly was dedicated to her pets, and will be missed by dogs Bella and Tikka. Those preceding her in death were Rigby, Rollie, Rigby Junior, and Abbey.

The radiant light of Shelly’s memory will forever illuminate the paths of those she leaves behind. “Our hearts are knitted together.”

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, outside Nye Community Church. A celebration of her life will immediately follow at Anipro Event Center outside Absarokee.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Shelly’s honor may be made to Beartooth Humane Alliance, or Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, attn: Youth Programs.

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30 thoughts on “Shelly Rae Hjelvik Link”

  1. Rick & Karen Mouat

    We were so saddened to hear of Shelly’s passing and we certainly send our thoughts and prayers to all the family in this time of loss. Rick & Karen Mouat

  2. There are just no words to express the sorrow in learning of Shelly’s passing. Not Shelly!! Sending all my love to those touched by her death, and there are so many. May you find the strength to endure this unthinkable turn of events, and find comfort in the certainty that love lives on.

  3. I am truly sorry that I did not know Shelly. It sounds like she was a good person. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and her family. May God comfort you and give you the strength to cope with everything ahead of you. Love to you Max and Lavetta Belzer

  4. Shelly was a great gal to work with and always was so professional and kind.
    My Hert goes out to the family and I am praying for you .Gods blessings to your family during this time of sorrow.

  5. We are so sorry to hear of Shelly’s death and the sadness the families are going through. You are in our thoughts and prayers. The Wokich Family

  6. I remember Shelly as always having such a great sense of humor, a terrific smile, and she was the bright light in the room. Her obituary was beautifully written and truly gives a sense of who Shelly is. I’m so sorry to all affected by her sudden loss. You are all in my thoughts. ~Kelly Rose

  7. When I think of Shelly I think of TRUE KINDNESS. Probably one of the best people I ever had the pleasure of knowing. Rest in peace Shelly, you will be remembered and missed! xo

  8. We love you, Johnny, so very sorry to lose Shelly. You were the perfect couple. She was beyond precious. We so enjoyed our times together with the two of you. Sutton

  9. Though I never met this wonderful graceful lady, I know her friends that she touched with her grace, love, and beauty. This is one person in this world that will be truly missed. My sympathy goes to her husband, parents, family, and friends. May their memories of her smile, love, and warmth grace their thoughts and hearts. You will truly be missed.

  10. Carol Ketchum Moritz

    I am so saddened to find that Shelly left all of us so soon. She was a true delight to all that knew her. I remember hiring Shelly at Chicago Title. She started her career on 5-19-1986. Who would remember the exact date like I have!! (I don’t remember anyone else’s hiring date). That goes to show you the foot print she left IN my heart and the heart of all she touched in her life. Shelly lit up each room she entered and each person she met. Those sparkling, shining, life filled, twinkling beautiful blue eyes. Her smile shines with sun light and the wonderful gentleness of her good nature. We all know the mischievousness of what lies behind those wonderful eyes. No one could help but be affected by her presence. Although I haven’t seen Shelly for quite some time, I along with many, many others will miss her greatly. She was a shining becon for God to see on earth. It’s too bad and terribly sad that God took her from all of us so soon. My heart aches, as must her loving husband, Johnny and John and Donna and her siblings. Johnny, you are the wonderful knight in shining armor that swooped Shelly up and made her whole and filled with joy and happiness for the rest of her life. I have tears streaming down my cheeks knowing how sad and lost you and the rest of her family must feel.
    I will love Shelly ALWAYS and certainly will NEVER forget her. Carol Ketchum Moritz

  11. Oh no no. This cant be can it? A shining star gone out too soon…still the light goes on forever. Rest in Peace sweet beautiful funny amazing Shelly. Strength to all who love her.

  12. Arne and Shelly Sutton

    John and Families,
    We were so saddened to hear about Shelly’s passing and we are thinking and praying for you. The short time we got to know Shelly we knew she was a special person. You two made an awesome couple and the love you showed to each other was so evident. She was so gracious and hospitable when we were at your house and always made you feel comfortable. Prayers to all of you!!
    Arne and Shelly Sutton & family

  13. I was saddened beyond words to hear of Shelly’s passing. I have known Shelly since she was a young girl and she always radiated a spark of love and happiness. Her loss is beyond comprehension and my heart goes out to her husband John and her parents Johnny and Donna along with her siblings Laurie , Tracy, and Mikol and their extended families.. May God hold you in the palm of his hand and comfort you during this difficult time. Until we meet again! Robin Soderlind Butcher

  14. Trish Eik, Bank of Joliet

    I was recuperating from total knee replacement surgery when all of the health things came up with Shelly. You can’t imagine how shocked and saddened I was to get an e-mail about her passing. Shelly and I go back 21 years. Whenever I had a closing with Shelly I always looked forward to it because it was always such a joy just to be around her. She radiated with happiness and kindness so above and beyond. We referred to each other as “sister” and I will never forget a fallen sister. God works in mysterious ways and although we don’t understand these ways we can find comfort in knowing that Shelly trusted in the Lord. My heart goes out to her family and all those dear to her. God bless all of you. I love you Shelly and happy trails to you sister.

  15. I was shocked to learn of Shelly’s sudden passing. Although it has been ages, it seems like yesterday when we were kids playing, not a care in the world! Shelly will always remain a bright memory, like a rainbow bursting forth with the sunshine after a summer’s thunderstorm. Take comfort as she is loved by so many.

  16. Gary and Clara Borland and family.

    So many memories of a wonderful young woman…now she is dancing with the angels. Our love and sympathy to all of her loved ones.

  17. We are so sorry to hear of Shelly’s sudden passing. Sending thoughts and prayers to all her loved ones.

  18. We’re saddened to hear of Shelly’s passing. It was always a joy to have Shelly administer our closings. She was always full of so much energy. She will be deeply missed by all! Sending our prayers to John and family. Jim and Deb Brown

  19. Victoria Brauer-Konitz

    Thoughts and prayers to you and your family. Very saddened to hear of your passing. Thank you for your help in 2006, I can still remember what a beautiful person you were and always will. Peace, love and comfort during this difficult time.

  20. Ellen Louise Schoemer

    I will be sending cards, but just thinking of my little niece– the red-head– and laying on my lap in the back seat of the car sleeping away with a tick in her head. Her mom stopped the car and got it out. I held her the rest of the way to Billings, so tired, and helplessly so. I go up to the hospital recently and she is in the same boat, but not on my lap anymore and lying there in need of a song from EllieLou and a prayer to God to bring her back. Helpless and tired she rested until God took her home. We pray for our whole family for strength. We love you Johnny Link.

  21. So sorry to hear of Shelly’s passing. She was always a shining star at the title company. My prayers are with you, John and the rest of her family. I know your heart aches. Mine does too. She was loved and admired by many.

  22. Our love and prayers for you during this difficult time. May the memories of happy times you shared help ease your loss and bring comfort to you. Jack & Paulette Roma

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