December 19: Paul Alfred Shinkman (1975) and Elizabeth Benn Shinkman (1999)

Paul and Elizabeth (Betty) Shinkman’s move to Washington, D.C. in 1942 and their decision to affiliate with the Church of the Epiphany shortly thereafter is a legacy that lives on today, 75 years later. Paul was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After graduation from the University of Michigan, he began his career as a reporter for the Chicago City News Bureau. Between 1924 and 1929, he worked in Paris and London for the Chicago Tribune. Returning to New York in 1929, he became an editor for King Features Syndicate and made regular visits to Europe as a roving correspondent for International News Service. In the summer of 1935, he married Elizabeth, elder daughter of Sir Ernest and Lady Benn, in England. War work called Paul to Washington in 1942, when he became chief of the German section of the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service of the Federal Communications Commission. Later, he completed two missions to Berlin for the State Department and served as press officer at the American Embassy in Vienna, Austria. Upon his return to the States, he broadcast regular radio news commentaries, interspersed with national lecture tours.

Betty Shinkman was born in London and graduated from Roedean College. When she arrived in Washington during the war years, gasoline rationing was in effect. Many suburban families could not drive to public libraries, so Betty organized a large neighborhood collection of books to be shared. She was an avid horticulturist and author. She edited a collection of her husband’s article under the title, So Little Disillusion and published her own memoirs, The Most Estimable Place and Time. As a testament to their love of music, Epiphany’s Steinway concert grand piano and bench were given as memorials to Paul and Betty Shinkman, respectively. In addition, one of the six dormer windows in the nave of the church was given in memory of Paul Shinkman by his wife in 1979. After their deaths (Paul – December 19, 1975; Betty – September 20, 1999), their funerals were at Epiphany prior to their interment in the diplomatic section of Rock Creek Cemetery.

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