Marion L. Shinn

Marion L. Shinn

3/11/1921 — 3/18/2022

Marion L. Shinn was born March 11, 1921, at Canfield, Idaho, on the Doumecq Plains near White Bird, Idaho, to Ray and Ethel Shinn, and passed away Friday, March 18, 2022, one week after celebrating his 101st birthday.

His century of life was a full one, filled with many wonderful accomplishments, experiences, friends and service. His classmates in the one-room Canfield School nicknamed him “Gabby,” which showed that his tendency to be verbal developed early. Books and education were his calling, not farming. In 1934, at age 13, he moved to Lewiston to attend high school and then college. His teaching career began in 1940 in a one-room school in remote Dixie, followed by a year in Melrose before he joined the U.S. Navy. After extensive training with the recently invented radar, he served on the submarine USS Guavina in the South Pacific until the end of World War II. His experiences on those war patrols were later described in his book, “Pacific Patrol.”

He married Lorena Neumayer on June 25, 1945, and soon afterward headed back to the war zone. Fortunately, the war ended and he enrolled in Washington State College, where he attained a degree in industrial management in 1948. Needing a job to support his wife and son, he returned to Lewiston where the administrators at the high school offered him a job teaching chemistry. During his 17 years at the high school, he taught science, mostly chemistry, to more than 3,000 students. Recent messages from former students have made it clear that he was an exceptional teacher who made a difference in the lives of many students. At the same time, he was the local supervisor for Trade and Industrial Education, teaching and overseeing apprentice programs for trade and industry at night. His interest in vocational education led him to attend summer school at Colorado A&M where he obtained a Master of Education degree. In 1965, he was offered the opportunity to start a new vocational school at Lewis-Clark State College. He developed the school from scratch, developing curriculum, hiring teachers, recruiting students, and ultimately building two new buildings on campus for the vocational programs. He obtained his Doctorate of Education in 1971 with a thesis titled “History of Vocational Education in Idaho.”

While he was a high school teacher and had summers off, he worked as a seasonal ranger at Glacier National Park where his wife and children, Phil and Donna, enjoyed those summers in that spectacular natural environment, rather than in sweltering Lewiston.

Retirement from LCSC in 1979 was the beginning of a whole new career as a volunteer. He was elected to three terms as Lewiston City Councilor from 1980-88 and selected as mayor in 1987-88. He served in leadership roles in many local organizations and several regional ones. His involvement with the Nez Perce County Historical Society included 30 years on the board and nearly 20 years as editor of the Golden Age magazine, which continued until he was 97. His ability to strike up a conversation with anyone served him well as he interviewed “old timers” for articles for the magazine. With the encouragement of Dan Miller, he documented his long life with the book, “Eyewitness to Idaho History: A Trip Down Memory Lane,” published in 2014.

Kiwanis was a significant part of his life for nearly 70 years. He served for decades as secretary and newsletter editor for his local club, as well as two terms as lieutenant governor for the region. Club meetings, activities and friendships were important for him.

Retirement also brought the opportunity for Marion and Lorena to travel all over the United States to Kiwanis and Submarine Veterans meetings. They made an international trip nearly every year for 20 years and shared stories and photos of their travels with groups throughout the community.

He is survived by son, Philip Shinn (Evelyn), and daughter Donna Loucks (Bryon)

His wife of 68 years, Lorena Neumayer Shinn, preceded him in death. He will be interred in the family plot at Lewis-Clark Memorial Gardens. No service is planned.

Marion once said, “My whole life, I was raised to help other people. It was ingrained in my family.” For that service he received many awards throughout his lifetime, but the Esto Perpetua Award from the Idaho State Historical Society, the Marion Shinn Lifetime Achievement award given annually by Lewis-Clark State College to an alumnus, and the LCSC Presidential Medallion he received in 2019 were his favorites.

He would be honored by your support of the Nez Perce County Historical Society Fund at Idaho Community Foundation, 210 State St., Boise, ID 83702; the Shinn Family Scholarship Fund at Lewis-Clark State College; or your own charity.

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Monday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

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920 21st Avenue
Lewiston, Idaho 83501
(208) 743-6541 or 800-584-8812