Rev. George Glen Shanks, age 81, entered into his rest on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at Dallas Regional Hospital, Mesquite, Texas following a brief stay in ICU and after an extended period of declining health. His wife faithfully cared for him until the very end of his life.
He leaves his wife of 59 years, Leona Larson Shanks; his three daughters: Rachel Dubay and son-in-law Michael, who helped to care for George for the last three years (Mesquite, Texas), Rebecca Edzerza (Robert), Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, and Ruthie Sanford (Charles Dwayne), Rome, Georgia; his only cherished granddaughter, Senay Alexandria Cansiz, Atlanta, Georgia; and two step-grandsons, Daniel and Patrick Dubay, California. All of George’s birth family predeceased him; his oldest sister, Berniece McMillan of Taylorville, Illinois, recently passed away at the age of 100 in September 2016.
Born and raised in Taylorville, Illinois, the son of Lewis E. Shanks and Stella Pearl (Foutch) Shanks Capps, he was the 12th of 13 children who lived to young adulthood. George attended Christian County schools and graduated from Taylorville High School in 1954, where he was active in track and football. At an early age he was a golf caddy at Taylorville Country Club, and then worked at My Store for several years. He received a deferment during the Korean War because he was entering the Christian Ministry and because he had several brothers who served in the military.
George was baptized in 1952 and shortly thereafter received his call to ministry. In 1956, he entered the Apostolic Bible Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was elected class president each consecutive year; he not only graduated but served on the faculty there. Here he also met his beloved Leona, and they were married in 1957. Their daughters were born in 1958, 1959, and 1962.
George entered pastoral ministry in 1958 and served in home missions in Lincoln, Illinois, establishing the United Pentecostal Church there. He received his ordination into the United Pentecostal Church Inc., in 1959, and this was the beginning of over fifty years of ministry which included pastoring his home church, Apostolic Faith Assembly in Taylorville, and churches in Belleville (Apostolic), West Frankfort (First Apostolic Faith Assembly), Springfield (First Apostolic) and Tiskilwa, Illinois.
Throughout the course of his pastoral ministry, George served in the capacities of Assistant Pastor, Pastor, Sectional Youth Leader, Illinois District Sunday School Secretary/Treasurer, Illinois District Presbyter, and Chair of the (national) Ministers Retirement Committee for the UPCI. In 1979, he and Leona spent one year working in missions in the Yukon Territory, Canada. George was ordained to office of Bishop (ACJC) in 1978 in Sandoval, Illinois. All of his pastoral ministry was in Illinois; however, George continued to minister across the United States actively until 2005. He was known as a life-long Bible scholar, a respected speaker and a revered teacher. He fellowshipped with numerous Apostolic Pentecostal organizations including: United Pentecostal Church, Inc., The Apostolic World Christian Fellowship, The Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, Greater Works Church of Jesus Christ, Reformed Apostolic Church of America, and The International Ministerial Association, Inc.
George served as an Illinois State Chaplin (CPE) and was also called upon to advocate in community union negotiations. His counseling aptitude served him well throughout his lifetime of ministry. As a life-long student, wherever he lived, George attended at least 15 colleges or technical schools; he was particularly proud that he was accepted into five law schools in 1985-86. He had a personal interest in church law and assisted many churches with para-legal advice. His earned degrees included Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Religious Studies and Education, and Master of Theology.
George acquired an extensive personal library, and his love for reading and studying remained with him even to the beginnings of dementia. Anyone who visited him, usually left with the gift of a hand-selected book. In 2014, he donated his personal library of over 6000 volumes to the Urshan Graduate School of Theology in Florissant, Missouri. He never lost his fervent love for the Word of God and was tutor and mentor to dozens of young people who followed him into ministry. Because George was a consummate lover of books, even after his library was bequeathed, he immediately started another collection.
In his lifetime, George was a Boy Scout Head Scoutmaster and was awarded the Order of the Arrow; was a graduate of the Illinois State Police Academy for Correctional Officers; was a member of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, attending many symposia on Lincoln’s life and legacy. Lincoln remained one of his lifelong role models; among George’s library was a substantial collection of Lincoln scholarship. In 2004, George and Leona retired to Garland (Dallas), Texas, where they were members of New Life Church.
Visitation will be held at Eastgate Funeral Home, Garland, Texas, Monday, March 6, from 6:00-8:00 p..m. The memorial service will be held at New Life Church, Garland, Texas, Tuesday, March 7, 10:00 a.m. Officiants will be Rev. Dan Green, Springfield, Illinois, and Pastor B. E. Stanley, New Life Church, Garland, Texas. Interment will follow immediately at Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, Sunnyvale, Texas.