Longtime Forest Hill City Councilman Robert Shanklin was a young Navy carpenter’s mate on a tug in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered, ending World War II.
Many years later, his desire that veterans’ and Forest Hill peace officers’ service be remembered contributed to the creation of Forest Hill Memorial Park.
Gerald Joubert said Friday that he was grateful that Mr. Shanklin, chairman of the committee that oversaw planning and construction of the park, lived to see its completion.
Mr. Shanklin died Wednesday of cancer. He was 87.
Mr. Shanklin, a chemist by profession, served on the council from 1995 to 2007 and was elected again in 2011.
Joubert said that despite declining health, Mr. Shanklin continued to attend council meetings through November.
Jerry Sutton, who served on the council with Mr. Shanklin in the 1990s, described him as a “hard worker” who loved to talk. “I had to pinch him so that he would stop talking,” she said.
Sutton recalled that when she and Mr. Shanklin were elected in 1995, the city was about $1 million in debt. Mr. Shanklin was always concerned about the budget, she said. When he returned to the council two years ago, Mr. Shanklin was still concerned about city finances and worked closely with City Manager Sheyi Ipaye during budget discussions. Ipaye was on vacation Friday and could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Shanklin was born June 6, 1926, in Terre Haute, Ind., and graduated from Indiana Teachers College with a degree in chemistry.
A nephew, Vernon Shanklin, said his uncle was on the christening crew of the USS Wenatchee, a Navy ocean tug that was among the Allied ships at the Japanese surrender.
Mr. Shanklin worked for DuPont for 13 years and Mosites Rubber Co. in Fort Worth for 25 years. He was a research chemist and at one time was on a team that developed synthetic insulation that was used for early spaceflights, his nephew said.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Pat Shanklin; and son, Lee Shanklin.
Longtime companion Carol Nanchy said that she and Mr. Shanklin traveled throughout most of the United States together.
“When Bob did things, it wasn’t for credit; it was because he wanted to,” she said. “He was a simple man who wanted to help others.”
Joubert said the council will discuss whether to appoint someone to fill Mr. Shanklin’s unexpired term.