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Jacqueline King Shank ’50

November 13, 2019, in Lincoln City, Oregon.

Born to Myrtle Hoff, Jackie was adopted by her stepfather, Yank King, and as a child spent time at the Waverly Baby Home in Portland. A literature major at Reed, she wrote her thesis, “Shakespearean Comedy from Jonson to Johnson: A Study of Changing Critical Attitudes Toward Shakespearean Comedy in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” with Prof. William Alderson [English 1943–64] .

She enjoyed the Gilbert and Sullivan productions at Reed as well as the Hum classes, and remembered the calm Prof. Alderson exuded during the 1948 earthquake. In addition to an MA teaching degree from Reed, she earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Portland and took classes at Portland State University, which she said seemed easy after her time at Reed.

Jackie was active in Portland’s Civic Theatre, where she met her husband, Stanley Shank. She taught at Portland elementary schools for 30 years, including Gregory Heights and Ainsworth. After retiring, Stan and Jackie moved to Pacific City, where Jackie began a second career as a writer.

“You’re never too old to start,” she said. She began attending a writing workshop and to her surprise, her first attempt was published. Fenceposts, a “funny gossip column” about her hometown, appeared weekly in the Tillamook Headlight Herald from 1986 to 1991. Following this success, she enrolled in writing classes at the community college and joined a writing group with other students from the class. A number of her short stories were published in the Oregonian and in Fantasy Magazine, and she wrote a book, Once Upon a Time and All That, which was a collection of retold fairy tales. Jackie maintained that writing kept her brain operating, and, because she had a pension and Social Security, she wasn’t reliant on it for a living.

Jackie was a board member of the South Tillamook County Library Club and volunteered as a greeter and columnist at the Kiawanda Community Center. Ten years after the death of her husband she moved to the Lakeview Senior Living retirement community in Lincoln City, extolling its many advantages. Being retired, she crowed, was the best career she ever had.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2020

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