IRVINGTON—Donald Huntington Shanklin, 89, beloved husband of Barbara Truitt Shanklin for over 67 years, died on February 10, 2018, in Irvington.
In addition to his wife, Don is survived by his daughter, Sarah McComas and son-in-law, Michael McComas of Richmond; his daughter, Anne Hand and son-in-law, Paul Hand, of Lancaster; grandchildren, Alex Hand and Emma Hand; a niece, a nephew; and a great-grandchild.
Born in Baltimore in 1928, he was the younger son of Richard Goshorn Shanklin and Gwendolyn Huntington Peregoy. His parents of Winter Park, Fla., and his brother, Richard Goshorn Shanklin Jr. of Port Orange, Fla., predeceased him.
Don enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was selected for Presidential Guard Detail aboard the USS Missouri battleship for President Harry S. Truman’s goodwill voyage to South America in 1947. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1952 with a bachelor’s in animal husbandry and was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
Driven by a lifelong devotion to horses, in 1958 Don began a three-decade career in thoroughbred flat racing. He started as a horse identifier and tattoo technician for all eight racetracks in Maryland and went on to hold officiating positions, covering every domain of the track, from the paddock to the judges’ stand: as patrol judge, placing judge, paddock judge, clerk of scales, racing secretary, steward and chief steward.
In 1968, the newly formed Pennsylvania Racing Commission appointed him executive secretary and he then served as chief state steward on 23 racetracks in nine states, and on the island of Jamaica.
When the Commonwealth of Virginia permitted thoroughbred flat racing in 1997, Don was called out of retirement to judge the opening meet at Colonial Downs. He also enjoyed point-to-point racing and for many years, until 2009, was a steward at the annual Fair Hill Races in Maryland and Little Everglades Steeplechase in Florida.
Sailing, beekeeping, tennis, hunting, gardening and traveling were Don’s favorite pastimes. For much of his adult life he sailed throughout the Abaco Islands, exploring and entertaining, on his boat, The Tanglefoot. He had a great affinity for the Abacos and contributed time and support to their clean-up and rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd.
During his later years, Don was president of the Northern Neck Wild Turkey Association and led efforts to establish its scholarship foundation. He was treasurer of the Richard Henry Lee Chapter of The Sons of the American Revolution, a member of the foundation board of Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury and an animated docent at Historic Christ Church. He also served on the board of the Rappahannock River Yacht Club, was commodore of the Moran Creek Yacht Club and a member of Indian Creek Yacht & Country Club.
The family extends their gratitude to the staff and caregivers at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury for their unwavering professionalism and kindness.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Don’s memory to The Salvation Army, 2 West Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23220 or a favorite charity.
A memorial reception will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, February 16, at Indian Creek Yacht & Country Club, 362 Club Drive, Kilmarnock.
Currie Funeral Home LLC of Kilmarnock handled the arrangements.