Readers Write: The passing of Dr. William A. Shine

The Island Now

We mourn the passing of our member Dr. William A. Shine, former superintendent of the Great Neck Public Schools, and grieve for Susan, his wife, and Barbara and Jack, his children; and we grieve for ourselves—we, who knew him over the years—as a mentor, teacher, friend. He kindled into light our minds, inspiring us through his intellect and character.

Provocative and challenging was Bill Shine, and eloquent too. Not only did he speak eloquently, he listened eloquently to those of us who enjoyed the privilege of engaging him in dialogue.

And when he spoke, he never spoke superficially; it was clear that he had subjected his most deeply held thoughts and ideas to an inner challenge before venturing to share them in words, chosen carefully.

Dedicated to the art of education, he would embellish his thoughts with wit that served to fortify his ability to reach young minds with his great erudition.

And the students loved him. They appreciated that he supported them, that he could be unrelenting in his encouragement that they develop their unique strengths. The connectedness between Bill and the kids was visible and wholehearted; they loved him, as did their parents and teachers.

We must count ourselves fortunate to have had him for as long as we did, but accepting his loss with grace is a challenge nevertheless.

Still, we ought not to despair. For here among us, in minds awakened by his, in spirits uplifted by his, in hearts gentled by his, he lives and shall continue to live.


Dr. Robert S. Widom, Senior Rabbi

Temple Emanuel of Great Neck

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