June 6, 1918-May 31, 2019
Gordon Russell Shuck Jr. died peacefully in his sleep at the Eastern Montana Veterans Home in Glendive, Montana on May 31st, 2019 just six days shy of his 101st birthday.
Dr. Shuck was born in Oakland, California June 6th, 1918 to parents Mary Watson Shuck and Gordon Russell Shuck Sr. He grew up in Seattle where his father, Gordon Russell Shuck, Sr. taught Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington. Dr. Shuck graduated from Lincoln High School in Seattle in 1936 and earned three degrees from the University of Washington, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering and a Ph. D. in Chemistry. He played clarinet for the Husky band, including playing for the 1937 Rose Bowl and the Tournament of Roses Parade.
On September 10th, 1948 he married the love of his life, Olive May Andrews, a former World War Two Navy W.A.V.E., in Cincinnati, Ohio while working for Proctor and Gamble as a research chemist. Deciding on a career in teaching he did his post doc at USC in Los Angeles and in 1951 began teaching Chemistry at the University of Montana in Missoula where he taught until 1956. He then moved to Fresno, California, teaching in the Chemistry department at Fresno State until 1961. At that point he decided to fulfill a long-term dream and become a cowboy. He left his academic career and bought a ranch in Winthrop, Washington where he ran 300 head of cattle, learning how to ranch from reading magazines. After seven years of ranching, he decided to return to teaching and finished his career in Butte at Montana Tech, teaching from 1967 until his retirement in 1978. He and his wife bought a smaller farm in Whitehall, Montana in 1971 where they raised and sold hay until 2001 when they moved to Cracker Box Road, Glendive, Montana to be next to his son, Gordon Russell Shuck III.
Dr. Shuck pursued a variety of interests. After his retirement from Tech, he took up his clarinet again and played for the Ore Digger Pep Band and for the Butte and Bozeman Symphonies. He especially enjoyed playing clarinet with his granddaughters. He played tournament level chess with his son “Andy” (John) throughout Montana, Idaho, Washington, and California. In 1982 he went to the Soviet Union with other chess enthusiasts on a cultural exchange and peacemaking mission. He built a dark room and took up photography and was a member of the Butte Camera Club. He also loved playing handball and built a regulation-sized handball/racquetball court on his farm in Whitehall. Their home was a lively center of attraction for children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends.
Dr. Shuck kept body, mind, and spirit active his whole life. He played clarinet for his church and the nursing home in Glendive well into his 90s. He also taught chess to residents of Watch East. He was an avid reader keeping up with magazines such as Chemical and Engineering News, Scientific American, Chess Life, and Time. He also enjoyed reading science fiction and mysteries.
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He was active with his wife in the Jefferson Valley Baptist Church in Whitehall, the Cardwell Community Church, and West Side Baptist Church in Glendive.
In addition to the many interests above he also loved his dogs, playing poker, laughter, good whiskey, and living in Montana.
Dr. Shuck was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Olive May Andrews Shuck, who died August 25th, 2015 and a grandson, Zachary Andrew Shuck. He is survived by his daughter, Molly (Ken) Doersch of Sandy Hook, Connecticut, son Gordon (Vickey) of Glendive, Montana, and John “Andy” (Bev) Shuck, of Portland Oregon. Surviving grandchildren include Lisa (Joel) Shortlidge of Derry, New Hampshire, Craig (Anne) Doersch, of Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Julianne (Tom) Werner, of Tallahassee, Florida, MaryAnn (Tige) Vester, of Glendive, Montana, Janelle (Ken) Schafer, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and Katy (Amber) Shuck of Johnson City, Tennessee. He also leaves eleven great-grandchildren.
Gordon Russell Shuck is an example of a life well-lived. He pursued his dreams and did what he wanted. He lived with vigor, loved much, laughed often, and died after 100 trips around the sun. What more could anyone ask?
Funeral services will be held at the West Side Baptist Church in Glendive at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8, 2019.