Thomas E. Shellenberger (1932 - 2011)

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May 3, 1932 – March 28, 2011

Thomas E. Shellenberger of Millersville, Md., and formerly of Bozeman, passed away in Glen Burnie, Md., on March 28, 2011, from pneumonia. He was born May 5, 1932, to Leola and Clare L. Shellenberger in Havre, moving to Bozeman in the late '30s.

His father, who was a legendary teacher of chemistry and physics at Gallatin and Bozeman High Schools, shaped his future as a research chemist. He completed a B.S. and M.S. in chemistry and biochemistry at Montana State University and a doctorate in biochemistry and nutrition at Kansas State University.

He loved Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley and Canyon - especially fly fishing, duck hunting, skiing and golf. As a student in Bozeman and at MSU, he was known for his superb bass voice, singing in Methodist choirs and MSU's concert chorus and Madrigal Singers, and for scholarship awards and basketball, receiving Gallatin High's first scholar athlete award in 1950. He enjoyed barbershop choral singing and was a member of three award-winning choruses: Diamond State Chorus, Little Rock, Ark.; Heart of America Chorus, Kansas City, Mo.; and Alexandria Harmonizers, Alexandria, Va.

In his career as a research biochemist, he pioneered the earliest work on the hazards of pesticides to fish and wildlife beginning in 1960, before the U.S. EPA was established and before there was an awareness of the environment as we know it today. He is known worldwide for the use of Japanese quail as the experimental laboratory animal rather than mice. He began this work at Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, Calif., and continued it as a founding scientist of the Gulf South Research Institute in New Iberia, La.

He played an important role in estrogen research ("the pill") at the FDA National Center for Toxicological Research in Arkansas in the '70s, having served as one of the first senior scientists recruited to establish the Center and where he served as deputy director.

He was invited by foreign governments and by the World Health Organization to speak on the hazards of pesticides. He later performed contract research at Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City, Mo., and Tegeris Laboratories, Laurel, Md. He was a member of the American Chemical Society and the Society of Toxicology.

He was predeceased by his parents.

He married Frances Chirgwin of Bozeman in 1953; they later divorced. Together they had three children, Robert E. "Bob" Shellenberger (Linda) of Grapevine, Texas, John M. (Deborah) Shellenberger of Batesville, Ark., and Diane Shellenberger Fadal (Anwar) of Clovis, Calif., who survive. Also surviving are six grandchildren, John Marc, Rachel and Michael Shellenberger of Batesville, Ark., Christie Shellenberger Wilkes (Ricky) of Jonesboro, Ark., Sophia Fadal and Amanda Fadal of Clovis, Calif.; two great-grandchildren, Nathan Wilkes and Allison Claire Wilkes of Jonesboro, Ark.; a brother, Phil (Mary) Shellenberger of Nipomo, Calif.; and 12 nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. on May 27 at Alta Mesa Cemetery in Palo Alto, Calif., where he will be buried with his parents.

The family has requested contributions if desired be sent to the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel, MD 20708, where he was a volunteer, having been honored for 1,000 volunteer hours before becoming ill in 2007.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 18, 2011
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