The passing of Donald L. Shell

Donald L. Shell at the 1984 General Conference

Donald L. Shell at the 1984 General Conference

Donald L. Shell (and his late wife Virginia) were honored by the Good News Board of Directors in January 2001 with the Edmund W. Robb Jr. United Methodist Renewal Award in recognition for their years of service to the denomination and the ministry of Good News.

Shell was a United Methodist layman, computer scientist, software engineer, and mathematician. He was an accomplished executive in the International Time Sharing Computer section of General Electric and the co-founder of Robotics Inc.

He died November 2 at the age of 91.

“Don Shell was an organizational genius who spearheaded the Good News efforts to influence General Conference,” the Rev. Tom Lambrecht, vice president of Good News, said. “Many of the strategies we use today were pioneered by Don. He was an expert on the Book of Discipline, and he sought always to keep the church faithful to Scripture. Irenic in spirit, he was nonetheless a bulldog when it came to contending for the faith. Don and his wife Virginia will long be remembered as pillars of the renewal and reform movement within United Methodism.”

From 1980 through 1992, Don and Virginia Shell led Good News’ Legislative Strategy effort at four General Conferences. Shell was the chairperson of the Good News Board of Directors from 1993-1996 and was subsequently elected as a Lifetime Honorary Board Member.

shell1Even when health problems had slowed him down, Shell was active at Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. Don served as treasurer at Long’s Chapel for five years and was chairman of the finance committee for three years.

Don and Virginia had been married for 30 years before she died at 81 years old. He is survived by his wife Helen Whiting, whom he married after the passing of Virginia.

“I still find myself deeply moved in my heart knowing that Don’s life here on earth is now over. We have, of course, that great confidence and knowledge of Heaven awaited on the other side,” Dr. James V. Heidinger II, president emeritus of Good News, said. “Thank God for that. What has moved my heart is my great appreciation for Don, his friendship, his life of faithfulness and integrity, and his great help to Good News in so many ways.”

–Good News


  1. Charles Bres says

    Rest in peace papa

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