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Collette Wach Shull

Apr 11, 2018

Collette Wach Shull, beloved mother and early female physical therapist, died on Thursday, April 5 at her home in Muncy. She was 86.

Collette Helen Wach was born on October 11, 1931, in Elmhurst, Illinois to George Edward Wach, employed at The Great American Insurance Company and the former Catherine Marie McCabe, a Marshal Fields’ saleswoman, WWII riveter and homemaker. Growing up, Collette attended daily Catholic Mass with her father, a third-order Franciscan. As a young girl, she enjoyed singing and dancing around the piano with her many aunts and uncles. Later in life, Collette delighted her grandchildren with the ability to sing a song containing any randomly-requested subject.

Collette graduated from Immaculate Conception High School, Elmhurst, Illinois in 1949. She was named All Catholic Girl for her essay on race relations titled, “The Black Problem Is A White Problem”, highlighting her faith and concern for social justice.

Collette attended Mount Saint Clare College in Clinton, Iowa. She interrupted her college studies to care for her toddler sister, Mary Catherine, while her mother spent a year in a TB hospital. In 1954, Collette earned a B.S. in Physical Therapy from The University of Kansas, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.

At The University of Kansas, Collette served for two years as the President of the Interracial Cooperative House, at a time when African Americans were prohibited from living in university housing. She participated in organized efforts to allow African Americans the right to eat in Lawrence, Kansas restaurants. Through friends at the Interracial House, she enjoyed attending African American fraternity dances and socials.

In 1954, Collette married Orvis (Jim) Monroe Shull who she met on a blind date with his best friend, George Logue, both of whom worked at International Harvester Proving Grounds in Illinois. Orvis and Collette settled in Muncy, PA at the Muncy Airport Farm and raised their seven children.

In the early 1960’s, Collette worked as a physical therapist for five years at the Lycoming County Crippled Children’s Society in Williamsport, PA and for 34 years at the Williamsport Hospital. Collette remained current in advanced techniques, such as Feldenkrais therapy, throughout her career. In 2005, she retired at age 74.

Collette enjoyed an intellectually curious life. She participated in Elder Hostel trips, her weekly church book club and never missed Meet the Press. She was a life-long committed Catholic interested in social justice. She served as a cantor at the Muncy Church of the Resurrection and sang in the Muncy and Resurrection Church choirs.

Above all, Collette loved her family who cared for her until her death. She is survived by her seven children: Conrad D. Shull of Williamsport, Mark K. (Rebecca Ward) Shull of Palo Alto, CA, Dr. Peter J. (Kathleen Yurchak) Shull of State College, Timothy J. (Dr. Edie Shull) Shull of Williamsport, Mary Collette (Kent) Muirhead of Baltimore, MD, Colonel (Dr.) Colleen C. (Dr. Mitchel Krieger) Shull of Fairfax, VA, and Patrick O. (Kathy) Shull of Turbotville. She is also survived by her sister, Mary Catherine (Paul) Moser of Cincinnati, OH; daughter-in-law Marilyn Shull of Muncy; seven grandchildren: Nicholas Shull, Thomas Shull, Cydne Shull, Gabriel Shull, Daniel Shull, John Patrick Shull, and Catherine Shull; and her great-granddaughter, Asta Jackson. Collette was predeceased by her husband Orvis and her sister Joan Marie Potvin.

A Mass of Christian burial was held 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 10, at Church of the Resurrection, 75 Musser Lane, Muncy, with Rev. Glenn McCreary officiating. Burial followed in Muncy Cemetery. Friends called from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, April 9, at the McCarty-Thomas Funeral Home, 557 E. Water St., Hughesville.

The family provided the flowers and suggest memorial contributions be made to Heifer International, 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202.