OBITUARY FOR DAVID WILLIAM McSHANE
David William McShane died on July 22nd at Friendship Village after suffering a heart attack on July 6th. He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on November 13, 1924, the son of Michael Thomas and Emma (Schroeder) McShane. He had an older sister, Pauline, who became Mrs. Thomas Folbre. Dave grew up in Lincoln, attending the public schools there.
An early interest in amateur radio led to his entering the University of Nebraska to study electrical engineering. WWII intruded, but he was classified 4-F. He wanted to serve somehow, and was hired by the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., helping with research on radar-controlled fire control equipment. An opportunity to join a new Western Electric Company facility in his home town working in quality control for the manufacture of military communications equipment kept him busy until nearly the end of the war.
During those years, Dave's interest in 'how' things work developed into 'why' questions, and he returned to school to major in philosophy with the intention of attending graduate school in a seminary. A year at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas was followed by finishing his college work in at the University of Nebraska, class of 1949. He entered McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago that fall.
The next year, Beth (Elizabeth Hamblen) joined the student body, and Dave's life was wonderfully rearranged. They were married the following summer to spend their senior year together as husband and wife. Beth received her Master's degree in Church Social Work and Dave his Divinity degree. During their senior year, they spent weekends serving the First Presbyterian Church of Elkhart, Indiana, and after graduation Dave was called as Assistant Pastor to that church. They stayed in Elkhart for three years, during which Beth, using her Master's work, founded a day nursery school in the church.
Their first child, Michael, was born during that period. Dave was attracted to the campus ministry, and was called in 1955 to serve in that capacity at Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo. Their second child, Joy, was born during that time, and they also took in a foster daughter, Patricia Blain.
That challenging and rewarding ministry led to a call from the Westminster Foundation in Philadelphia to direct the campus ministry in more than a dozen colleges in the area, with a staff of six clergy and three seminary interns. Their third child, Miriam, came into their lives during this time, and foster daughter Pat married Richard Giangulio. For the first few months, that administrative job was fascinating, but soon Dave deeply missed teaching, preaching, and pastoral care, the things he had gone to seminary to learn how to do.
The pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo learned of Dave's dissatisfaction and came to Philadelphia to see if the McShanes would like to return to Kalamazoo. Absolutely! So, in the summer of 1960 the five McShanes moved happily back to Kalamazoo, where Dave became an Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church. Not long after they returned, Kathleen, their fourth child, joined the family.
Dave's somewhat unusual call was to be in charge of small group development and community ministry. This fit well his interests and abilities. Within two years, the pastor, Charles Johnson, was called to become the educational leader in the Presbyterian denominational headquarters in Philadelphia, and Dave was called as Pastor of the Church. He filled that role for nearly thirty years, retiring officially in June 1987.
During that time, his ministry in the community continued as he served in many capacities on many boards and agencies in Kalamazoo. He was Chairperson of the Kalamazoo County Mental Health Board for two terms, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Kalamazoo Child Guidance Clinic, President of the Kalamazoo Torch Club and the Outlook Club. He chaired the committee that guided the consolidation of the Community Services Council with the Community Chest, which became United Way of Kalamazoo. He was also President of the Kalamazoo County Council of Churches and Chair of the Kalamazoo Ministerial Alliance at separate times.
Dave's work as an educator was expressed in several ways. He was an adjunct faculty member at Western Michigan University, where with Prof. Cornelius Loew, he taught the first course in holistic health offered at the University. Dave was Visiting Scholar at Lancaster Seminary, Lancaster Pennsylvania and Malone Fellow at James Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Dave preached or lectured at the Mountain Retreat Association in North Carolina; at meetings of the Presbyterian Synods of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan; at the Black Hawk Presbytery in Illinois; and at the Omaha Seminary School for Pastors in Nebraska.
Dave served on the General Council of the Presbyterian Denomination, and at different times chaired its Advisory Council of Education and Advisory Council on Discipleship and Worship. He was honored with a Doctor of Divinity degree from Alma Collage in Alma, Michigan. He represented the United Presbyterian Church of the USA in Ireland during the Irish Presbyterian Church celebration of the 300th anniversary of sending the Presbyterian minister Francis Makemie to the United States.
Although his primary dedication was to his family and his ministry, Dave found some fun and exercise in the sport of paddleball, which he had learned to play during seminary. He played well into his 80's. He was nicknamed 'The Rev' by his many paddleball friends and along the way managed to win a tournament or two, including a national championship in doubles in the Golden Masters age division in 1987.
In 1970, Dave discovered the four-volume work of American philosopher Silvan Tomkins, entitled Affect, Imagery, and Consciousness. It provided the integration of philosophy with psychology, theoretically correlating the otherwise disparate pieces of Dave's professional life. Dr. Tomkins and Dave became very close friends during the last twenty years of Tomkins' life. Dave often lectured at the annual meetings of the Tomkins Institute, which was founded not long after Tomkins died. Dave was honored by the Institute.
The McShane family spent a delightful summer in County Donegal in Ireland, where Dave had an exchange pastorate with the minister of the church in the village of St. Johnston. Following official retirement in June 1987, Dave taught at McCormick Seminary in Chicago and was temporary Moderator of the Kalamazoo County Council of Governments. Dave and Beth built a house in Marco Island, Florida, where they spent winters for fifteen years and summers at their cottage on Wall Lake, near Delton, Michigan.
While in Florida, Dave did a considerable amount of preaching, and was for a time a Parish Associate at the First Presbyterian Church in Naples. In 2003, they moved back to Michigan, living in their Wall Lake cottage until moving to Friendship Village in Kalamazoo in 2005, where they were happily very active. Dave and Beth spent a glorious semester on the South Pacific Island of Efate in the island nation of Vanuatu, teaching 7th graders in the Onesua Presbyterian mission school.
In recent years, he served as interim minister for the Presbyterian churches in the Michigan communities of White Pigeon, Decatur and Dimondale, as well as the Community church of Yorkville. Dave was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Beth, in April of this year. He is survived by his four children, Michael (Kurt Reich), Joy Oyler (Tedd), Miriam Beimer (James), and Kathleen; and foster daughter Patricia Giangulio. His grandchildren are Dr. Nicholas Beimer (Jane), Joseph Curcie, Jackie Curcie, Katelyn Segur (Grant), Alexandria Curcie, and Kevin Freeling. His great grandchildren are Paige and Mara Beimer and Hazel Segur. His two nieces are Bonnie Meador and Pauline Lathram (Brook).
A memorial service will be held at a future date at First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo and at Friendship Village when safety allows. Memorial gifts may be made to the Briner-McShane Fund at the First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo.
Briner-McShane Fund @ First Presbyterian Church
321 W. South Street, Kalamazoo MI 49007