John Albert Shakely, my grandfather, would be 91 today. An adventurer, soldier, Penn Stater, geologist, sailor, wildcatter, and teacher, Pop was a humble, heroic man in my childhood life, the sort of person who teaches a boy how to be a man without ever sitting him down to give him a lesson. Requiescat in pace.
I shared the tribute above on Facebook, and my Aunt Amy Bourgeron (daughter of grandfather John’s sister Jean) added that “Uncle John was an iconic figure of my youth- the quintessential baroudeur.” (Baroudeur: adventurer, fighter.) Visiting Amy in July 2016 in Denver, it was special to me to see in her home the same Turkish footstool that Pop sent home for her in the 1950s, when he was stationed in Diyarbakir as an oil-well geologist.