Frank Garrett Shanklin, of Groton and Menauhant, died peacefully at home in Menauhant, in East Falmouth, on July 27, 2010.
Garrett's passion to create and to build came at an early age. When he was growing up in Winchester, Mass., he built forts in the vacant lot next door. Later, while attending Phillips Exeter Academy, he built a high-fidelity sound system in his dormitory room. While a student at MIT, he built the structure of an 18-foot inboard motorboat in the hobby shop and the ROTC Barracks Dormitory shower room.
Garrett was born Aug. 5, 1930 in Arlington, son of the late Doris Garrett Shanklin and Dunbar Lancaster Shanklin. After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy, class of 1948, he entered MIT where he earned a degree in chemical engineering in 1952 and a mechanical engineering degree in 1953. He was inducted into the U.S. Army and along with 12 other mechanical engineering graduates completed a comprehensive training course on the latest tracked vehicles.
Shortly after, he was shipped to Germany and his wife Sarah and infant daughter Carole joined him.
Upon his return and discharge from the Army, he was a project design engineer for Improved Machinery in Nashua, N.H., from 1958-59. He was also employed by United Shoe Machinery Corp., working in the Atomic Power Department in Beverly until 1961.
In 1961, he founded Shanklin Corp., a designer and manufacturer of shrink packaging machinery. For the next 40 years, with the help of the many wonderful employees, the company became the largest and most highly respected manufacturer of that type of machinery in the country. Garrett always said that he could "feel" the machines, that he could put his hands on a machine, listen to the sounds, and solve the problem. One of Garrett's favorite recollections was when a country lawyer he knew well once asked him to stop by and talk about a timely retirement so that he could enjoy life. Garrett said, "That's news to me -- I thought I was enjoying life all along."
Garrett was an avid seaman from the age of 14. He sailed and raced his Knockabout on Cape Cod, where for the last 25 years, he could be found at the helm of his 33-foot Bristol "Tradewinds."
Different seasons brought different interests. Spring and fall brought out the 1913 Stanley Steam car or the 1913 Silver Ghost. Many antique car tours throughout this country were enjoyed. Winters would find him avidly tackling the ski slopes of New Hampshire and Colorado.
In 1997, he decided to attempt a life-long dream with the design and construction of an acoustically dynamic hall with a restored Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ from the silent-movie era of the roaring twenties. The historically significant Console once graced the stage of the Boston Metropolitan Theater (now called The Wang Center). In 1999, his dream was realized when the Shanklin Music Hall, dedicated to the preservation and presentation of a piece of "Americana," opened to the public. World- renowned theater organists have and entertained audiences of all ages there.
He is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 58 years, Sarah Weston Shanklin. He was adored by his four children, Carole Shanklin Hill, Jane Shanklin Dunn, Norman D. Shanklin, and Lea Shanklin Decoteau; three sons-in-law, Paul Hill, Murray Dunn, and Jay Decoteau; a daughter-in-law, Molly Richardson Shanklin; and 11 grandchildren, Kevin, Maryanne and Brian Hill; Sarah and Robert Dunn; Jenna and Andrew Richardson; Corey, Shauna, Kelley and Ben Decoteau. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Carole Shanklin Tinsman.
In celebration of Garrett's life, there will be a memorial service at the Shanklin Music Hall at a later date. Burial services are private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Shanklin Music Hall Foundation, c/o Norm Shanklin, 260 Abbot Hill Road, Wilton, NH 03086 and/or Grace Memorial Chapel, P.O. Box 425, East Falmouth, MA 02536. For an online guest book, please visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com.