1938 - 1979

Rebecca Shinkle Lafferty



Spectator Staff 54,55,56; Student Council 53,54,55; Secretary Senior Class 56; Cheerleader 54,55,56; Homecoming Queen 55.


(Remembered by Helen Shinkle Ashmore*

and Martha LaFrenz Kay) 

Sister Helen remembers that the Shinkle family moved to Liberty from Kansas City in 1953 with their father’s John Deere agency. Dad was a “country boy” and happy to move, but Mom and the two girls thought they had been banished to a rural outpost. Becky soon learned to love Liberty. “That dear, lovely girl had the happiest years of her life at Liberty High, where her value was so openly appreciated.” 

The Shinkle house on Ridgeview became a haven for many of Becky’s friends. Martha loved to be invited for a meal or an overnight, Daddy Shinkle taught her to play chess there in front of the fireplace, and the rec room in the basement was as inviting as Dee Dee Hair’s, just down the street. Square dancing lessons were among the dangerous delights.    

After high school, Becky honored a Shinkle family connection and enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan. She met her husband Bob Lafferty there in 1957. He was captain of the football team and later a coach there at OWU. Becky and Bob married when she was barely nineteen. They had two sons: Bruce Robert, now married and living in Iowa City with his wife and four children, and William Roger, now living in Cambodia. Both sons have a daughter named Rebecca.   

Becky was married briefly to Randy McMillan, but that is “best left to fade from memory.” Her third marriage was to Bill Langley, an administrator in the North Kansas City School system. They were on a school camping trip in early May 1979 when her canoe overturned on the Flat River, her life jacket caught in the roots of a tree, and Becky, a strong swimmer, drowned in seven feet of water.   

Helen mourned her sister for ten years. “She was a constant presence; we had been raised as one, and it was not metaphor that part of myself was gone…I think about her and Daddy still, our two blue-eyed best, wondering if it is not really true that only the good die young.” 

*Direct quotes are Helen’s.


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