Celebration of Life
Obituary of Shelley J. Pedersen
Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, Shelley Pedersen passed away on July 2, 2022, in Monroe Township, NJ at the age of 63. Shelley was born Shelley Prysant (שינה חנה) in Brooklyn, NY, on December 16, 1958. The daughter of Jewish immigrants, she inherited thriving survivor genes and a sense of humor from her Holocaust-surviving parents.
Shelley graduated South Shore High School at 16, graduated SUNY Albany at age 20 as a NY Regents Scholar (BS Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude), and was awarded full scholarship for all her post-graduate degrees. An engineer and attorney, she graduated Columbia University at 21 (Graduate School of Engineering & Applied Science, MS Operations Research) and graduated law school the year she turned 50 (Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D.) as a Distinguished Scholar and Chancellor’s Scholar. Shelley was the recipient of many additional merits and commendations throughout her life.
Shelley developed the entry strategy that launched the AT&T Wireless Business, in a four-person task force reporting to the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. She joined Bell Labs in 1980 as the only woman in her department of 50. Recipient of the prestigious AT&T Vice Chairman’s Award, she was personally featured in the MIT Sloan School of Management Executive MBA Program Case Study. During a 12-year period, Shelley worked for AT&T as a Strategic Planner for emerging wireless technologies, Business Planner and Market Manager for cordless phones and products, and Systems Engineer for Bell Labs.
At the age of 32 a stroke left her with 5% chance of survival and 14 years of rehabilitation after losing the ability to work, write, read, and understand numbers. Shelley faced challenges in education, business, raising four children, and two life-altering medical conditions resulting in disability. While being a stay-at-home mom, she developed and carried out her own rehabilitation plan. Shelley served Washington Township’s Board of Education for four years, led bible studies, and joined the Morris County Mother of Twins Club. She was a Counselor on a Women Aware, Inc. Domestic Violence Response Team while attending law school as a single parent. Shelley was an original board member for Town Clock Community Development (Town Clock CDC).
Shelley and Mitch Pedersen were married in 2009 and celebrated their ten-year wedding anniversary in Paris. Her favorite pastime was watching her husband play guitar and sing. For 20 years she attended all but 3 of his music gigs, and music was always a special part of their life together. Shelley loved the beach and traveling with Mitch to the Caribbean. The couple enjoyed motorcycle and helicopter rides together.
A jokester, as a 2L she won the William Hung Award in Seton Hall Law’s singing competition. Shelley worked as a Judicial Intern for The Hon. Tonianne J. Bongiovanni (U.S. Magistrate Court). She was a LeClairRyan attorney four years before founding Shelley Pedersen Law Firm LLC. Her people-centered law firm primarily represented victims of abuse.
The past nine years Shelley battled colon cancer, six years at Stage IV. Her life was a death-defying journey filled with humor and God’s grace. She founded Cancer Humor Grace in 2019, helped hundreds of people in their cancer journeys, and as a patient provided clinical research that will help future generations. “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” –Stuart Scott
Shelley is preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Rhoda, and cousin, Debbie. She is survived by her husband, Mitch; brother, Mark; four children (Erica, Robyn, Ariel, Joshua); two step-daughters (Nikkilee and Dana); two grandsons and step-granddaughter (Ezekiel, Jake, Amelia); her nephew, Eli; and aunt, Iris, whom she loved as a sister.
A Celebration of Life service will be held Sunday, July 3, 2022 at MJ Murphy Funeral Home in Monmouth Junction, NJ, commencing at 10:00 AM (masks are required due to immunocompromised family). There will be no viewing. Following the Celebration will be a graveside service at Oaklawn Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Shelley’s memory to Women Aware, Inc. or Town Clock CDC:
Town Clock Community Development Corporation provides permanent, affordable housing opportunities to survivors of domestic violence and their children. All residents who live in their two residential facilities receive wrap-around social services through their extensive programming. Donations may be made online (townclockcdc.org/donate) or by check, to: Town Clock CDC, 11 Bayard Street #301, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Women Aware provides services to survivors of domestic violence, with comprehensive programs providing support across the spectrum of client needs—from emergency crisis intervention to long-term efforts toward independent living. We offer services including a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, legal advocacy, community education, support groups, and children’s programs. All services are free and confidential. Donations can be made online (womenaware.net/donate/)
Funeral Home in South Brunswick, NJ Providing Professional Funeral Services in Middlesex, Somerset, and Mercer Counties. Family Owned and Operated.
Phone: (732) 329-2000
Fax: (732) 329-1711