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Emmy Hammond Shakeshaft ’51

August 22, 2021, in Ames, Iowa.

Emmy was born in White Plains, New York, and came to Reed because she had determined it was like Sarah Lawrence with boys. She wrote her thesis, “An Introduction to the Work of Dylan Thomas,” advised by Prof. Donald MacRae [English 1944–73].

“My experience at Reed encouraged me to stay interested, engaged, open to new ideas and possibilities,” she said. “I was over 40 before any job I got made use of my BA in English literature; before that it was my ninth-grade typing that brought in the bread.”

She married A.J. (Jerry) Shakeshaft in 1956, and 10 years later moved to Ames, Iowa, where Jerry taught political science at Iowa State University until he died in 1998.

“I arrived in Ames, Iowa, with a typical snotty New Yorker’s attitude (let’s have an experience in America’s Heartland), but ended up enjoying it and being enormously grateful for it,” Emmy recalled. She worked as a copy editor of college publications until she retired, and was an inveterate volunteer—for the local adult literacy program, reading stories to first graders once a week and serving on the RSVP Advisory Council. She edited newsletters for the ISU Retirees and the Ames Area Spinners & Weavers, taught beginning weaving and other textiles workshops for a local fiber shop, and kept herself busy spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting, and felting wool. She is survived by her daughter, Kate Murray, and son, Tom Shakeshaft.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2022

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