Cover photo for Donald Grady Shockley's Obituary
Donald Grady Shockley Profile Photo
1937 Donald 2020

Donald Grady Shockley

August 12, 1937 — June 8, 2020

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Don Shockley attended public schools and Birmingham-Southern College in his home city. He received the Bachelor of Divinity degree from Emory University in 1962, and completed doctoral studies at the San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1975.

Don and Mary Jim Lyons, having been sweethearts since elementary school, were married during their senior year at Birmingham-Southern. They have three grown children: Scott (Sandy), James (Scott) and Allison (Suellen), all of whom are graduates of Emory University. There are three granddaughters (Morgan, Jordan, Juno) and three grandsons (Colin, Matthew, Jimmy).

After serving five years as a student pastor in rural Alabama churches, Dr. Shockley was appointed Associate Minister at Canterbury Methodist Church in Birmingham. After two years in that position he served as chaplain of Birmingham-Southern College from 1964 to 1972. From 1972 to 1979 he served in a variety of roles, including University Chaplain, Director of the Jameson Center for the Study of Religion and Ethics, and Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Redlands in Southern California. From 1979-1990, he served as Chaplain of Emory University in Atlanta.

Prior to his retirement in 1990, Dr. Shockley served for nine years as Assistant General Secretary for Campus Ministry at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, located in Nashville. In that role he led the effort to reestablish the
United Methodist Church Student Movement, and was instrumental in the creation of a national United Methodist youth organization in Russia. In his work for the General Board, Dr. Shockley visited 43 states most of them multiple times, and several other countries, as a consultant, speaker and trainer for campus ministries and college chaplaincies.

Dr. Shockley has written many articles and reviews that have appeared in such magazines as Christian Century, Commonweal, and Southern Living; in newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Constitution, and the Tennessean; and in numerous denominational and ecumenical periodicals. His book Campus Ministry: The Church Beyond Itself has been widely used. His most recent book is Private Prayers in Public Places: The Notebook of an Urban Pilgrim.

Due to Covid – 19, a date for services at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham is TBD. More information available at In lieu of flowers donate to your local food bank or

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