Win Sally Osborn Shankel

1893 - 1978

Win Osborn was born in Haines, Oregon. Following completion of high school in Portland, she attended the Oregon Agricultural College, now Oregon State College, and the Oregon State Normal School. In 1917 she began her career teaching art and elocution (speech) at Walla Walla College, now University. Two years later she married George Edgar Shankel, a college student. After his graduation in 1920, they moved to Canada, where he served as head of the English department at Canadian Junior College, now Canadian University College, for five years.

The Shankels went to Cape Town, South Africa, in 1925, where he taught English and history and she taught music at Helderberg College. He became president of the college in 1936, after he had completed a master's degree in history at the University of Washington during a furlough in 1932-33. They returned to WWC in 1944, where he taught in the history department for two years and continued work on a doctorate at the University of Washington.

During this time, their daughter, Virginia-Gene, a young but very accomplished violinist, began her teaching career with a position in the WWC music department. In 1946 the family moved to Atlantic Union College, where Shankel served as academic dean and professor of history. During his eight-year tenure in those positions, both Win and Virginia-Gene taught music at the college.

Mother and daughter were inseparable then, and in subsequent years the family remained close after Virginia-Gene's marriage to Harvey Rittenhouse, a physician, in 1950. Win would also teach music when her husband worked at West Indies College in Jamaica.

In the early years of the New England Youth Ensemble, led by Virginia-Gene, Shankel became a familiar figure during the group's extensive touring. To her former students and members of the NEYE from those years, she was affectionately known as "Mom Shankel." She was living with her daughter when she died in Stoneham, Massachusetts, at age 84.


Sources: Obituary, George Edgar Shankel, Review and Herald, 10 March 1977, 23; Obituary, Win O. Shankel, 11 May 1978, 23; African Division Outlook, 5 December 1929, 27 October 1930, 6; Southern African Division Outlook, 15 July 1935; Atlantic Union Gleaner, 30 August 1946, 5; See Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse biography for additional information.