Gerald Elijah “Shag” Grossnickle (’42)

ClassNotes-ShagGrossnickleGerald Elijah “Shag” Grossnickle (’42) of Kirksville passed away April 25, 2016. In his 100 years he led a full life as a public servant, sportsman and entrepreneur. A Navy veteran of World War II, he was called to duty before graduation that year and did not cross the stage with his class. A native of Carlisle, Iowa, following his time in the service he returned to Kirksville where he led a life of many interests with his wife Sarah. He taught for a year, ran a restaurant for a while and spent a total of 28 years in elected office serving the citizens of Adair County in various capacities. During an eight-year stint as sheriff, he never carried a gun, rarely wore a uniform and often kept his badge in his pocket. He also bought a share in an insurance company, which he would later go on to own and operate with one of his sons. Grossnickle was named a Master Conservationist by the Missouri Department of Conservation for his efforts to bring wild turkey to the region, and he is a member of six different halls of fame, including the Truman Athletics Hall of Fame and the Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame. Among his many community involvements, he helped to start the Kirksville Baseball Softball Association and sponsored a little league team for more than 50 years until the time of his passing. Grossnickle also had affiliations with the Loyal Order of the Moose, the El Kadir Shrine Club, the Kirksville Jaycees, the United Way, the YMCA and the Red Cross. He joined the Kiwanis Club in 1945 and his longtime membership in that organization led to the newly created inclusive playground in Kirksville partially being named in his honor. In 1993 arrangements were made for Grossnickle to lead the graduation processional during summer commencement ceremonies. More than 50 years after earning his degree, he was finally able to cross the stage and accept his diploma.

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