The Early Years
Lyle Stanton “Stan” Shelmidine was born in Spencer, Iowa, on June 16, 1906. As the sixth of ten children born to Mae Galusha and David Edgar Shelmidine, Stan had a happy childhood playing baseball and attending church on Sundays. Stan enrolled at Grinnell College and graduated on June 9, 1930 with a double major in history and philosophy. During his time at Grinnell, Stan served as the pastor of the Congregational Church in Strawberry Point, Iowa. Throughout his life he maintained an active connection to the church.
During his time at Grinnell, Stan was president and most likely a founding member of the campus Liberal Club. The above clippings document the scandal that resulted in Stan’s resignation as president of the group. After the group published a prohibition poll, the editor of the school's alumni organization stated the club was a "green organization seeking publicity," which Stan argued was unjust. Stan is pictured here with his Grinnell College House, standing far left in the second row.
After graduating, Stan began his teaching career almost immediately, leaving Iowa to become an instructor at the American College in Tarsus, Turkey. Stan returned to teach at the American College over the next three summers, during which time he became fluent in Turkish and traveled extensively through the Middle East, Europe, and in the Mediterranean. In addition to Turkish, Stan also studied Arabic.