Oct 13, 2016

TAPS Mr. Donald T. Shanower

September 14, 2015. Mr. Donald T. Shanower, "Doc, " 93, at Naperville, IL. 

Don and his beloved wife Pat Shanower share a special relationship with the Naval Intelligence family as the parents of CDR Dan Shanower, one of our own who perished in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

It is with sadness that we mark the year that has passed since he left us. Don was North Central College's beloved theater professor emeritus and a 60 year Naperville resident. Don was born on December 15, 1921 in Canton, Ohio. He and his two brothers ushered at Loews Theater during his years at Lehman High School. He then worked at a sheet metal factory for a year to earn money for college. Theater and radio were his consuming interests while earning his B.A. at Kent State University, OH.

He spent three and a half years in the U.S. Army Infantry with the 75th Division in the European Theater, was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, was awarded a Purple Heart and other service medals. He then returned to Kent State to complete his undergraduate degree and his M.A. He met his future wife, the former Patricia Gibbs from Medina, Ohio, while he was the student director on the Showboat Majestic which offered theater performances along the Ohio River. Following a four year stint at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, Don accepted a position in the Speech and Theater Department at North Central College in 1955. While an assistant professor there, he earned his PhD. From the University of Michigan in 1959 and was known to students as "Doc" for the remainder of his 31 years at NCC.

After treading the boards in college, in the leading roles in "Othello and Macbeth", he found his true calling as a director of both classical and contemporary plays and musicals. He introduced students to plays from Aristophanes to Miller and beyond. Away from the stage, he taught Public Speaking, Acting, and History of the Theater.

At the beckoning of NCC students and with college and community support, "Doc" founded the Summer Place, Naperville's community theater, which continues today. "Doc" was awarded the Clarence F. Dissinger Memorial Award for distinguished teaching and extraordinary service to North Central in 1981. Dr. Dennis Henneman, NCC' 62 and Professor Emeritus of Theater and Dance at Youngstown State University, wrote recently to say: "As most teachers know, the most beautiful sight in the world is the sight of a person walking down the road with confidence after having been shown the way. Dr. Shanower has been the beacon of inspiration that has shown me the way."

Away from the classroom and the stage, Don and Pat traveled widely. In his first NCC sabbatical in 1964 Don and Pat and their children lived for six months in London; Don returned frequently to England and Europe leading NCC students.

In 1984, he was NCC's first exchange professor to Japan's Hirosaki Gakuin College.

Don's thirst for adventure was not limited to his career as he and Pat were worldwide travelers. Don served one year as president of Rotary Club, and following his 1986 retirement from NCC he volunteered at Bethlehem Center (now Northern Illinois Food Bank) as well as the Naper Settlement where he was honored for his work.

Don and Pat wintered in Winter Park, Florida, where Don sang with the University Club Men's Chorus. He and Pat are long time members of Community United Methodist Church.

He was predeceased by his parents (Merl and Ella Shanower) and siblings (Molly Jane, Robert, and Paul) and his son, Commander Dan Shanower, USN. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Pat, and their children, Vicki (Ed) Wike, Paula (Bob) Coleman, Tom (Ana) Shanower, and Jon Shanower, and eight grandchildren (Rachel. John and Molly Wike, Andrew Coleman, Elaine O'Kelley, Matthew, Nicholas, and Stephanie Shanower) and one great-grandchild (Haven O'Kelley).

He will be missed by all who he touched in his long and productive life.

Published in the Naperville Sun on Sept. 16, 2015