IRVINGTON—Barbara Truitt Shanklin died on August 23, 2020, in Irvington.
She was predeceased by her parents, Emily Truitt Duley and Thomas C. Duley; and her husband of 67 years, Donald Huntington Shanklin.
Born in Washington, D.C., on March 22, 1930, she spent her early childhood on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and grew up in Southern Maryland. She attended St. Mary’s Female Seminary, Brenau College, the University of Maryland (where she received a full scholarship in vocal studies) and Johns Hopkins University.
Music was a vital part of her life. Barbara sang in choirs throughout Washington and Baltimore, entertained troops at Andrews Air Force Base during World War II, and competed for an appearance on the late 1940s television program “The Arthur Godfrey Talent Scout Show.” Throughout her life, she loved to joke that she lost the competition to a man who, using only his voice, could produce amazingly realistic sound effects—such as a train going through a tunnel.
In 1958, she embarked on a teaching career spanning three decades. Artfully and engagingly, she imparted to multiple generations of young students her passion for the English language, its eclectic roots, grammatical construction, poetry and literature.
Barbara traveled the world extensively with friends and family, fueling her own desire to explore diverse cultures, meeting fascinating people wherever she went. She felt strongly that each person has something unique to contribute. Giving of herself and her magnetically bright but realistic outlook on life, she loved to cultivate new friendships and nurture old ones, ultimately bringing out the best in everyone.
She was a consummate hostess who enjoyed and excelled in every aspect of entertaining from the art of conversation, to culinary skills, to floral arranging, to bringing convivial groups of unexpected people together. She was a member of the Rappahannock Yacht Club and Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club, where she chaired the entertainment committee and served on the board of directors.
Barbara is survived by her daughters, Sarah McComas (Michael) and Anne Hand (Paul); a brother, Thomas Duley (Peggy); two grandchildren, Alex Hand (Jessica) and Emma Hand; and a great-grandson, Benjamin Hand.
Her family extends their gratitude to the staff at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury for their unwavering professionalism and kindness. Memorial gifts may be made to Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury’s Employee Christmas Fund 2020 or Fellowship Fund, 132 Lancaster Drive, Irvington, VA 22480.
Plans for a memorial celebration are pending.