HARRISONBURG, Virginia (Mennonite Mission Network)- Marie Hershey (Leaman) Shenk, 72, a 7-year Mennonite Board of Missions worker in Israel and Palestine, died September 7, 2010, at her home at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community-Park Gables in Harrisonburg.
Shenk was born May 25, 1938, to Daniel and Elizabeth (Hershey) Leaman, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite School, Shenk continued her education at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, where she received a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a minor in Missions. At Eastern Mennonite Seminary she received an M.A. in Religion.
On August 30, 1958, she married Calvin E. Shenk. Together they raised three children.
In 1994 Marie and Calvin Shenk began a joint assignment in Israel and Palestine under Mennonite Board of Missions, a precursor organization to Mennonite Mission Network, and Mennonite Central Committee. For the next 7 years, until 2001, the couple lived six months of every year in Jerusalem, returning to Harrisonburg for the remaining six months where Calvin taught at Eastern Mennonite University
It was during this time that Marie studied for her M.A. degree in Religion. Her deep interest in the Mennonite involvement with Judaism in Israel led her to write a thesis entitled, “Mennonite Encounter with Judaism in Israel, 1953-1993”.
“Marie and Calvin joined the Mennonite team in the Middle East at a crucial point in history,” said John F. Lapp, Mennonite Mission Network director for Asia and the Middle East. Lapp remembered Marie Shenk for her lively, outgoing personality and enthusiasm. “She enjoyed getting to know Israeli Jews, Palestinian Muslims, and the Christians of all nationalities in Jerusalem. We have missed her presence and unique insights in the region.”
Marie Shenk is survived by her husband of 52 years, Calvin; a son, Douglas, and his wife, Elaine, of Hummelstown, Pa.; a son, Duane, and his wife, Tanya, of Harrisonburg; one daughter, Donna Shenk, and her husband, Ryan Sensenig, of Goshen, Ind.; one brother, M. Hershey Leaman, and his wife, Norma, of Lititz, Pa.; a sister, Evelyn Sweigart and her husband, John, of Lititz,Pa.; a sister, Elizabeth Lehman, and her husband, John, of Harrison Valley, Pa.; and a sister-in-law, Grace Leaman, of Lincoln University, Pa. She is also survived by nine grandchildren, Jamila, Andre, Nathaniel, Alia, Alyssa, Addison, Ava, Mara, and Isaac.
Shenk was preceded in death by one brother, James Leaman, who died in May 2002.