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fter working continuously for 67 years – including the last 28 as an assistant athletic trainer and health and human performance professor at George Fox – Byron Shenk believes he’s finally ready to settle down. “As I’ll be 80 on my next birthday, I think I’ve earned a break from daily work,” he says. “But I’d like to get involved in service in my community, perhaps start a Bible study, and travel to visit children and grandchildren.”

Shenk may be leaving George Fox, but his imprint remains on countless students who took his classes or were served by his caring hand as an athletic trainer. He was also head coach of the women’s soccer team from 1991 to 2002 and was inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame for his success with that program. It was during his tenure as a coach that Shenk experienced one of his most memorable George Fox moments. “I shared the gospel with an opposing coach who was dying of cancer, praying with him briefly before the game. He died 10 days later, and at his memorial service his wife and one of his assistant coaches told me he had accepted Christ. To God be the glory.”

Shenk will also remember the divine encounters he had with students. “I can’t tell you how many times I felt led to pray, or to say something in class, and had no expectation of anything significant happening – only to have someone come up later and say, ‘That was just for me’ or ‘I needed that,’ often with tears in their eyes.”

Shenk says he’ll miss teaching his favorite subjects – kinesiology, principles of conditioning, and gymnastics and tumbling – and the “love, support, respect and friendship” he received from students. Reflecting on his colleagues, he chuckles. “There were always others who were more gifted as professors, brighter, smarter, wittier and better looking. But they always accepted me and made me feel that I was a person of value and worth.”