Berry Mourns Loss of Sophomore Runner David Shankles

Berry Mourns Loss of Sophomore Runner David Shankles

MOUNT BERRY, Ga. — Berry College's Dean of Students, Debbie Heida, announced earlier this week that sophomore cross country and track runner, David Shankles, passed away suddenly on Tuesday afternoon. 

"David leaves a pair of shoes on our team that cannot be filled," Berry head track and field coach Luke Syverson said. "He was a great teammate who made his team laugh and cared deeply. David was a great example of what it means to 'Be Berry' and in his short time here embodied the motto of head, heart and hands. Our hearts go out to his family and all he knew outside of our Berry community."

Funeral arrangements will take place at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in David's hometown of Knoxville at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 13th. The family will receive visitors from 5-7 p.m. David's parents have requested that in lieu of flowers, gifts can be given to Berry College in memory of David ( or to Young Life of Rome. Mr. and Mrs. Shankles will be working with the Berry Student Government Association to determine an appropriate memorial to David from the donations received.

Berry has also made arrangements for buses to transport students to the funeral. Registration for buses can be found at this link:

A Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Academic Honor Roll honoree during his freshman year in both cross country and track, Shankles was beloved by teammates and coaches. After setting multiple personal records during his freshman season on the cross country team, he became an immediate contributor to the Berry track program placing fourth in the 3,000m Steeplechase and sixth in the 1,600m relay at the SAA Championships. 

In an email to the Berry campus, Heida said:

"As a college community that loves deeply, our hearts are broken. We have experienced a great loss and our campus is a grieving place this week. But we are also a place of deep and abiding relationships and connections. Students, faculty and staff have reached out to each other and will continue to do so. This is a time for great conversations about how much David meant to so many here."