In Memoriam: The Rev. Richard Shackell

Posted on July 30, 2008

The Rev Richard Shackell, rector emeritus of Grace Church, Glendora (Diocese of Los Angeles), died on July 17 of natural causes. He was 81, and had been in poor health and suffering from dementia for several years.    

Before moving to the Diocese of Los Angeles in 1976 to serve as rector of Grace Church, Shackell's ministry was centered in the Diocese of California, where he was founding vicar and later rector of Church of the Resurrection, Pleasant Hill (1959-1976); rector of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Novato (1956-59); and rector of Holy Trinity Church, Willows (1953-1956).

Jeannette Shackell recalls that Resurrection parish initially met in a room above a bowling alley before making arrangements to use a Seventh-Day Adventist church on Sundays. Eventually the congregation built its own church, and Richard Shackell later became its first rector. He also conducted the first services for a house church that later became Church of the Nativity in San Rafael (Marin County).

During his time in the Diocese of California, the Shackells became close friends of James Pike (Bishop of California 1958-1966) and George Millard (Bishop Suffragan of California 1960-76). He served that diocese as stewardship officer and on many other committees and boards.

Shackell was among the California clergy who answered the call of Dr. Martin Luther King to join in the Civil Rights march from Selma to Birmingham. He led the contingent from the Diocese of California, and was a marshall on the march. According to Jeannette, he counted his participation as one of the highlights of his life.

As ardent Anglophiles, the Shackells made some 20 trips to England over the years, and Shackell became a Fellow of the Royal Society of [Industrial] Arts in London in 1978. The Society worked to improve the lot of workers in England.

Richard Shackell was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 30, 1927. He earned a B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1949 and a master's degree from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale in 1952. He was ordained a deacon in June 1952 and a priest on January 1, 1953.

During his tenure at Grace, Shackell was active in the community, including service on Glendora's Coordinating Committee. He was named Citizen of the Year in 1982.

After his retirement in 1984 as rector of Grace Church, the Shackells stayed in the Glendora area for two years while he continued to work with a senior housing project in the city. During that time, the Shackells attended All Saints Church, Pasadena. When the housing project was completed, they moved to Santa Barbara and became members of Trinity Church.

Services will be held at 2 pm on August 16 at Trinity Church, Santa Barbara. Survivors include Shackell's wife, Jeannette; his daughter, Sarah, from a previous marriage (another daughter, Mary, predeceased her father); stepchildren David Fayran, Margaret Friederici and Richard Fayren; and 11 grandchildren.