Shirley Totts

Shirley F. Totts

Monday, May 17th, 1926 - Thursday, March 25th, 2021
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Shirley Totts, 94, of New Windsor, MD, died on March 25, 2021, at Carroll Hospice, of Westminster, MD.

She was born on May 17, 1926, in Baltimore, MD, the daughter of the late Howard U. Constantine and Carolyn Thiele Constantine. Her 7 siblings, Buster, Fred, Genie, Jack, Edward, Louise, and Betty pre-deceased Shirley. Shirley’s two husbands, Ralph N. Melchior, and Owen Bruce Totts also passed before Shirley.

Shirley was a “depression” child who was born with Peyton Ductus Arteriosus. She was told that she would not live past 16. Her father, Howard, disputed that prediction and had Shirley tap dance and assist with bricklaying duties to strengthen her heart. At 27 she had a successful operation at Johns Hopkins to repair her condition, which may have saved her life.

She was a beloved member of the Living Church of God. She cared for an elderly member of the church in her home and then her 2nd husband, Owen, for 8 years in a wheelchair with a stroke. She was in her 80’s when she cared for Owen and could get that very heavy wheelchair in the back of her van and over thresholds (with him in it). She was a woman before her time. She liked to “beat the boys,” and preached that to her daughters. (I think her brothers teased her a lot about her freckles and agitated her and her sister Betty about who was the prettiest.)

Shirley worked for Maryland Casualty Re-Insurance Company in Hampden Maryland, for the first half of her life, before moving to Jekyll Island, GA, with Owen. She did not graduate high school because of her medical condition; there were steps that she could not climb. Nevertheless, she was highly successful at Maryland Casualty Re-Insurance Company. She could “spout out” every code of every re-insurance company, and at the end of her career at Maryland Casualty she was offered a managerial position when she approached her manager about leaving the company to start a second marriage in Georgia. She went to Georgia and started her own business cleaning offices and homes. She loved that job and worked into her 70’s doing that. She was immensely proud of her Constantine Heritage. She told Constantine stories continuously. Her favorite was visiting her grandparents in Reisterstown, MD, to see the chicken get their heads cut off and be served for dinner! In honor of that story, we are going to bury her ashes on her granddaughters “farm.”

Shirley had two children, Cheryl Schwedes, and Michelle Sheldon. Michelle was deceased September of 2019. Prior to Michelle’s death, Cheryl and her spouse, Ronald Schwedes, and Michelle and her spouse, Ernie Sheldon, did a “week on/week off” schedule caring for Shirley for 3-1/2 of the 5 years. Shirley was a thoughtful patient. She was also still in charge!

Shirley leaves behind one daughter: Cheryl Schwedes; 4 grandchildren: Michael Showman, Sr., Ronald, Schwedes, Jr., Melanie Wisner, and Alicia Showman; 6 great grandchildren: Brittney Showman, Michael Showman, Jr., Dawson Wisner, Logan Wisner, Mikala Brianne Hotshall, and Summer Hope Schwedes; 2 great-great grandchildren: Bentley Hommey and Lydia Hommey.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the memory of Shirley Totts to the Carroll Hospice in Westminster, MD, or to the Living Church of God, 2301 Crown Centre Drive, Charlotte, NC, 28227, Website:

A family memorial is planned to be held for Shirley in the future when it is safer for a large group to gather at a restaurant.

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A family memorial is planned to be held for Shirley in the future when it is safer for a large group to gather at a restaurant.


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Shirley F. Totts, 2015, in rocker at Carroll County Farm Museum. The rocker was donated by one of her family members of a previous generation.
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