Remembering a Friend

UnCommon Ground - Remembering a Friend

Even if Denisonians don’t know the Shorney family, they know the name. In 1967, Shorney Hall was built and named for G. Herbert Shorney ’18, a Denison trustee from 1929 to 1971. Following in his father’s footsteps, George Shorney ’54 served on the board and worked for the family-run church music publishing business, serving as president and chair of the company. When he died on March 31 at the age of 80, religion professor David Woodyard ’54 offerered this remembrance of his classmate and friend.

Some people we miss because they have always been in our lives. Others we miss because the quality of their presence has density.

Like his father Herb before him, George was the center of gravity in a remarkable clan—many of whom graced Denison over time. While the family was widely distributed geographically, George was their convener and embodied the spirit that activated the kinship ties. George engendered friendship and goodwill in multiple settings. Whether it was in The Hope Publishing Company, the Presbyterian Church, the country club, or the Florida and Wheaton homesteads, his charm was infectious, his integrity was pretenseless, and his welcoming affect was irresistible.

George was trusted and respected. He was a man of impeccable integrity. In social justice issues he transcended the ideologies and biases in which we were both raised. He was generous and loyal. In the college, the church and other institutions, he was the person others turned to for judicious advice and support. In the arena of hymn book publishing, he honored the past and welcomed innovation. He was his father’s son in every sense.

It is difficult to imagine our lives without him.

Published June 2012