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Published: Thursday, 5/22/2014

Gary K. Shaneck; 1941-2014: Teacher owned public Spuyten Duyval course

Shaneck Shaneck
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Gary K. Shaneck, a onetime junior high teacher who aimed to make the longtime Sylvania public golf course he owned welcoming to all, died Monday in his Springfield Township home. He was 73.

He had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his wife, Sue, said.

Mr. Shaneck owned the golf course on Central Avenue since the early 1970s — more than 40 years after its founding — and oversaw an expansion, including the addition of a nine-hole executive course and driving range called Cottonwood Creek and an upgrade of the existing 18 holes.

Spuyten Duyval accepts members, but league play and golf outings became its stock in trade.

“He really wanted that to be a course for the everyday person,” his wife said. “He didn’t envision that being a fancy country club. He was happy with you if you wanted to come out and play golf and you weren’t driving a Cadillac.”

And he was keenly aware of that niche, said Tom Moore, who married Mr. Shaneck’s niece Christine and has worked at the club.

“There aren’t many golf courses that have succeeded the way Spuyten Duyval has,” Mr. Moore said. “We’ve been very good at what we do. We are a blue-collar course. We cater to those who look for a course that’s affordable.”

Mr. Shaneck’s first exposure to golf-course management came in the late 1960s when he and Ted Cupp, a friend and fellow teacher, leased and operated Chippewa Golf Course in Ottawa County’s Allen Township.

The friends eventually went their mutally agreed upon separate ways, Mr. Shaneck’s wife said. Mr Shaneck took on Spuyten Duyval; Mr. Cupp’s next project was a Rome, N.Y., country club.

Mr. Shaneck “had a good business head naturally,” his wife said. “It’s an entrepreneurial spirit that people have naturally.

“Gary was magnetic,” his wife said. “He was a good story teller and a good listener too. He was a good person and a good businessman and people liked him and trusted him.”

He was born March 27, 1941, to Delia and Ferdinand Shaneck. His father was a game warden at the exclusive Cedar Point Club, on the marshes of Jerusalem Township. President Dwight Eisenhower’s first treasury secretary, George Humphrey, was a member, and the president himself stopped by for duck hunting in 1954 and 1958.

Mr. Shaneck was adept at sailing Lake Erie from a young age. Boating, duck hunting, and fishing were lifelong pursuits.

He was a 1959 graduate of Clay High School in Oregon and was a guard on the football team. He was recruited by the University of Nebraska, but a serious ankle injury his freshman year ended his football career.

He received a bachelor’s degree from what is now the University of Findlay.

He became a physical education and social studies teacher at Jones Junior High School in Toledo.

Surviving are his wife, Sue, whom he married Dec. 28, 1963; daughter, Sarai Shaneck; sister, Audrey Weis, and a grandson.

A reception for family and friends is scheduled for 2-8 p.m. Saturday in Walker Funeral Home, Sylvania Township.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

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