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Sheldon Vanauken
Birth: Aug. 4, 1914
Auburn
DeKalb County
Indiana, USA
Death: Oct. 18, 1996
Lynchburg
Lynchburg City
Virginia, USA

American Author. Son of Robert Glenn and Grace Merle Hanselman Vanauken. Frank Sheldon Vanauken grew up at the family home, "Glenmerle", which was a composite of his parents' middle names, located on the south side of Carmel, Indiana. In 1938, earned an undergraduate degree from Wabash College. While at college, he dropped "Frank" from his name and later life, was known to friends simply as "Van". It was during his junior year at Wabash, that he met, and fell in love with, Jean "Davy" Palmer Davis. When they first fell in love, they made a vow called the "Shining Barrier". A promise to share everything in life with each other, including all interests, friends, and work, in order to tie themselves so closely together that nothing could ever separate them. Devotion to this idea was so complete, they decided never to have children, feeling motherhood would be an experience which could not be shared equally. They married secretly, due to objection of early marriages by his father, on October 1, 1937, just ten months after meeting. Not announcing the marriage to Van's family until the winter of 1940, just prior to Van being called for naval duty. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor during World War II. In 1948, continuing his studies, received a Master's degree in History at Yale. By 1957, was attending Oxford University and was awarded a Bachelor of Literature. In 1960, had his first published booklet of "Encounter With Light". Sheldon is known for his best-selling 1977 autobiography titled "A Severe Mercy", which recounts a friendship he and his wife developed with fellow Author, C.S. Lewis, and their conversion to Christianity. Davy converted to Christianity first, which challenged the Shining Barrier, beginning a process by which religion was accepted as part of their bond. However, faith was put to the test when Davy was diagnosed with terminal liver disease at age the young age of 39. After her death, Van later called the "Shining Barrier" a "pagan love, invaded by Christ." He never remarried, but continued life as a professor of history at Lynchburg College and eventually converted to Roman Catholicism. His book became a best-seller, and eventually was followed by a sequel, in 1985, titled "Under the Mercy" and several other books. His work also includes a 1980 publication of "Gateway to Heaven"; "The Glittering Illusion: English Sympathy for the Southern Confederacy in 1985; followed by "Mercies: Collected Poems" in 1988; "The Little Lost Marion and Other Mercies" in 1996. And lastly, the self-composed obituary, published after his death in the Lynchburg News and Advance. He died of lung cancer in 1996. (bio by: Charlotte R. Smith) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Robert Glenn Vanauken (1883 - 1943)
  Grace Merle Hanselman Vanauken (1881 - 1956)
 
 Spouse:
  Jean Palmer Davis Vanauken (1914 - 1955)*
 
 Siblings:
  Robert Glenn Vanauken (1909 - 1909)*
  Sheldon Vanauken (1914 - 1996)
  Paul Slack Vanauken (1916 - 1970)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Saint Stephens Episcopal Church Cemetery
Forest
Bedford County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Ashes scattered in cemetery
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: HWA
Record added: Jun 14, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27554661
Sheldon Vanauken
Added by: HWA
 
Sheldon Vanauken
Added by: HWA
 
Sheldon Vanauken
Added by: HWA
 
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- ANNA
 Added: Feb. 19, 2016

- ANNA
 Added: Feb. 5, 2016
Thank you Sir, for your service, bravery & our freedom. With love, honor & respect. Rest in peace.
- ANNA
 Added: Feb. 4, 2016
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