THE PEOPLE close to Shelly Hawkins had names like "My Onliest," "Mooda Mook," "Lumpy" and "Diggity."
Shelly's sister, Sheila Linton, got her nickname for the simple reason that she was Shelly's only sister. The others, all her children - well, only she knew the origins of their names.
Giving nicknames to people in her life was an expression of Sheila's quirky sense of humor and the kick she got out of living.
For instance, she and sister Sheila bore a striking resemblance to each other and people often got them mixed up, to which her rote reply was: "I'm Shelly, not Sheilah."
Michelle Cora Linton Kent Hawkins, a ladies' apparel store manager, day-care worker, School District office employee and active churchwoman, died Dec. 2 after a lengthy illness. She was 63 and lived in West Philadelphia.
Shelly, as she was known to family and friends, was a friendly, outgoing person who loved socializing, sewing, writing poetry, nurturing her plant collection and collecting cow figures.
"Shelly's magnetic personality, effervescent spirit and sense of humor, if captured by a television show, the title would be 'Everybody Loves Shelly,' " her family said.
"Shelly was a very loving, spiritual person. She was a good listener and a caretaker of many. Shelly loved life and she lived it to the fullest extent."
Shelly was born in Philadelphia to Harold Linton and Elvera Bullock Linton Boyd. She graduated from West Philadelphia High School and went on to the Wilford Academy School of Cosmetology. In 1971, she married Robert Kent. When that marriage ended, she married the late Raymond Hawkins.
She worked as a sales manager for the La Boutique ladies' apparel store, which had two locations in Southwest Philadelphia. She worked as an administrative assistant in various offices of the School District.
Shelly most recently was employed as an assistant at "Mimi's Pamper Me Learning Tree," a licensed day-care center owned and operated by her first cousin Yvonne Bullock-Lee.
Shelly's spiritual journey began at Zion Hill Baptist Church, where she was baptized. She served as a junior usher under the guidance of her paternal aunt and namesake, the late Cora Palmer.
She later joined Pinn Memorial Baptist Church, which became the family church. Her most recent church home was Ezekiel Baptist, where she worshipped with members of her mother's family, the Bullocks.
In fact, the Bullocks had annual reunions, which Shelly enjoyed attending.
Shelly's late husband, Raymond Hawkins, belonged to an informal group of pals who called themselves the "Bus Boys" and met regularly to play pinochle, watch sports on TV and talk about the "good old days."
Their spouses called themselves the "Bus Girls."
"Shelly loved being a 'Bus Girl,' and she loved hosting the group's get-togethers, where she took pride in showing off her cooking skills," her family said.
Shelly also enjoyed spending time with her fiance, Lamont Artis. They would go dancing, traveling and to the movies. They even won a "Bop Dance Contest" at a Valentine Weekend getaway trip to the Poconos.
Besides her sister and fiance, she is survived by two sons, Robert and Rodney Kent; two daughters, Rhea White and Rae Lynn Hawkins; her stepfather, Bruce Boyd, and a stepdaughter, Gilletta Khri.
Services: Were Saturday. Burial was in Fernwood Cemetery.