Celebrating the life, ministry of Jack Shankel
Jack Eugene Shankel, 90, of Sunbury, Ohio, passed away on 6 August 2023. He was a retired district superintendent who led the Maine District (1971-1988) and the Northwestern Ohio District (1988-1998).
Jack was born in Mayport, Pennsylvania, on 20 August 1932 to Chloie Irene (Huffman) and Fred Cameron Shankel. He had one younger sister, Patricia Jean Kreps (deceased). He graduated (1950) from Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, Michigan, and joined the United States Navy. He served during the Korean War as a meteorologist from 1952 to 1956 in active duty and until 1964 in inactive duty.
While in the Navy, Jack was converted and wonderfully saved from an alcoholic grave. Later, during a revival service, Jack was committed to entire sanctification and devoted himself to holiness and serving his Lord. When discharged from the Navy, Jack returned to Pennsylvania, where a Christian cousin invited him to a home Bible study; here, he met his future bride, Joyce.
Joyce Joan Bish was born in Mayport, Pennsylvania, on 6 October 1935 to Leona (Coleman) and Clarence E. Bish, Sr. She had 10 siblings — six brothers and four sisters (all deceased except one sister, Delores; and two brothers, John and Timothy). She graduated from Dayton High School in 1953. As a young girl, Joyce developed hospitality and homemaking gifts. She always exhibited a sensitivity to spiritual things, a sincere heart in following her Lord, and a fierce commitment to the Nazarene church.
Jack was introduced to the Church of the Nazarene through Joyce’s family. He learned how her parents had stepped out in faith to mortgage their farm to bring a Church of the Nazarene to Hawthorne, Pennsylvania. As Jack and Joyce’s relationship grew, he fell deeply in love with her and the Nazarene church, where he eventually answered his call to ministry.
Jack enrolled in Eastern Nazarene College in 1956, and in 1957, he and Joyce were married in the Hawthorne Church of the Nazarene. Joyce joined Jack in Quincy, Massachusetts, and helped support him through his last years of college, working at Raytheon Corporation.
Jack completed his Bachelor of Arts in 1961 and a Bachelor of Theology in 1963. He furthered his education at Andover Newton Theological Seminary. In 1980, he was conferred an honorary doctorate from ENC for service to his alma mater.
Jack and Joyce began their pastoral ministry at the Duxbury Church of the Nazarene in Duxbury, Massachusetts. In 1964, they welcomed their only child, Christi-Le (husband, Clint Waybright) into their family.
In 1965, they were called to pastor the Augusta, Maine, First Church of the Nazarene. Jack was active in pastoring his church and serving in the community, including leadership positions in the Christian Civic League of Maine and as chaplain for the Maine State Legislature. Joyce participated in the Christian Women’s League and served as the church organist and pianist, a Sunday school teacher, and active member in Nazarene Missions.
In 1971, the Maine District Assembly elected Jack to be the state’s second district superintendent. At age 39, he was the youngest person elected to the superintendency.
In 1988, Jack was called to serve as superintendent for the Northwest Ohio District, where he and Joyce served for 10 years. In 1998, they retired to Mount Vernon, Ohio, after 38 years of ministry.
During retirement, Jack and Joyce served in interim roles, including regional representative for Mount Vernon Nazarene College (now University), interim superintendent for the South Florida and Hawaii districts, and interim pastor in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. They attended the Mount Vernon First and Sunbury Churches of the Nazarene in Ohio and the Fort Myers Church of the Nazarene in Florida during the winter months.
Jack’s additional commitments to the denomination included service on regional and general church boards, including trustee to ENC, Mount Vernon Nazarene College, and the Nazarene Bible College. He also chaired several General Assembly committees. Jack and Joyce were deeply respected and appreciated for their mentorship to pastors and laypeople and were faithful friends to all who knew them.
Jack excelled in leadership and administration, and his commitment to excellence was reflected in all he did. His interests included hunting with Maine friends, tinkering with cars, exploring Maine harbors, traveling, and leading Work & Witness trips to Peru, Belize, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Malawi.
Joyce excelled in hospitality, homemaking, and playing the piano, and she enjoyed hosting people in her home. She was an excellent Pennsylvania Dutch cook and loved to share her homemade canned pickles, jam, or any goodies she had in her pantry with her guests. She embodied what it means to be Christlike and selfless, always thinking of others first. Joyce was a prayer warrior and never missed opportunities to share God’s love and faithfulness with whomever she met.
Jack was preceded in death by Joyce, who passed away in March of this year. Jack and Joyce Shankel are survived by their daughter, Christi-Le, and son-in-law Clint Waybright from Mount Vernon, Ohio.
A memorial and life celebration event is being planned to honor Jack and Joyce’s lives and 66 years of ministry together.