SHANK, Edward L. (Ted), of Oakwood, age 93, died peacefully on Sunday, August 21, at Miami Valley Hospital, following complications from an injury sustained in an accident on his “touring trike.” Ted lived a long and happy life, devoted to family and community. He is survived by son, Craig, of Seattle, and his wife, Meredith, daughter, Anne Hilton of Oakwood, and her husband, David, and grandchildren, Christopher Shank, of Madison, Sophie Shank, of Cambridge, and Stuart Hilton, of Oakwood.
Ted was born in Dayton and grew up on the family farm in Butler Township, along with several years in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Durham, North Carolina during World War II. He graduated from Miami University in 1950 as part of one of the first Navy ROTC classes. Ted served almost four years in the Navy, including during the Korean War, when he was a lieutenant on a submarine in the western Pacific and Sea of Japan, surveilling Russian merchant ships headed to and from Vladivostok and taking photos that he said “likely never were looked at.”
After leaving the Navy, Ted attended law school at University of Michigan where he met Joanne Galbraith, then getting her masters degree. Ted was, in his words, “swept off my feet.” The two married, and after both graduated they moved to Washington, D.C., where Ted taught courses at Georgetown University Law Center while he earned his LLM in Tax Law. In 1957 the couple returned to Ted’s hometown of Dayton, and Ted joined the law firm now known as Bieser, Greer & Landis, where he practiced for 62 years. The two of them enjoyed their new life together in Dayton, raising children and participating in community activities. What Ted called “A Law School Romance” thrived and grew until Jo died in 2019 after a long affliction with Alzheimer’s disease.
A lifelong learner, Ted was deeply committed to intellectual pursuits, engaging in new areas of study and enduring topics of debate even in his 90’s. He loved his life of physical activity as well – alternating among running, hiking, skiing, sailing, tennis, squash, golf, and biking. And ahead of both intellectual pursuits and exercise, Ted loved the many communities he enthusiastically participated in and that gave him so much reward and energy. In particular, Ted’s family would like to thank the Bicycle Club, the Lawyers Club, Ted’s bridge group, the long-standing lawyers and judges discussion group, the trombone group and New Horizons Band, the Six Feet Apart Band, the Miami University NROTC class of 1950, the Dayton chapter of Beta Theta Pi, colleagues at Bieser Greer & Landis, and above all the friends and neighbors that surrounded him for all that they brought to Ted’s life. Ted played a role as a mentor, advisor, thought partner, and teacher to many – and at the same time he insisted that he was the one learning and developing in each of those interactions.
Ted leaves children and grandchildren whose lives have been enriched by his devotion to them and to his community. Their lives have been more joyful and meaningful because of his good humor and patient guidance, his optimism and encouragement, his earnest judgment and playful wit, his frequent instigation of family follies that Jo often tolerated and sometimes vetoed, and his application of common sense in all family matters. As his studies broadened later in life, his family has been particularly struck by Ted’s eagerness to listen to and often adopt new ideas, his deep reflection, and his willingness not to have the ultimate answer, even as his foundational values stayed unchanged.
The members of Ted’s family thank his many friends and neighbors who graciously supported Ted with meals, conversation, and encouragement during Jo’s affliction with Alzheimer’s and following her death, as well as during Ted’s recuperation after periodic injuries from Ted’s pursuits as an aging athlete. For any who wish to make a contribution in Ted’s memory please make a gift to The Oakwood Schools Foundation, PO Box 351, Oakwood, OH 45409, or to Wright Library Foundation, 1776 Far Hills Avenue, Oakwood, OH 45419, or to the charity of your choice.
Friends of Ted and his family are encouraged to join the family in a celebration of his life at noon, Saturday, October 1, at Moraine Country Club, 4075 Southern Blvd, Dayton, OH 45429. The family hopes that friends will be present at 12:30 pm for brief family comments.