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Elizabeth Winfrey Shindel, Ph.D.: 1951-2021

by Maggie Rotermund on 09/02/2021
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Elizabeth Winfrey Shindel, Ph.D., retired professor of education at Saint Louis University, died Aug. 31, 2021. She was 70.

Elizabeth Shindel, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Winfrey Shindel, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Lea Winfrey Shindel was born July 28, 1951, in Bluefield, West Virginia, to Lydia Brooks and William Sunday Winfrey. She was born two minutes before her sister, Polly, and four years before her brother, Bill.

Shindel was an artist from a young age. She designed clothes, made pencil sketches and painted. She studied painting, pottery and chemistry at Agnes Scott College. Shindel nurtured her musical talent for many years as pianist in her Methodist churches.

Shindel received her Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She was on the faculty at SIU for many years, directing their baccalaureate degree programs on many U.S. military bases. She served on the faculty of Saint Louis University for the last decade of her career.

“She was the most caring faculty member I’ve ever worked with,” said Molly Schaller, Ph.D., associate dean in the School of Education. “She was so connected with her students and so deeply committed to their success.” 

During the last weeks of her life, Shindel received tributes from students around the country and globe whose dissertations she directed, whose statistics were made sound by her instruction, and who have begun to refocus the workplace with their research on the qualities of a healthy workforce.

“She cared deeply about workforce development and women in higher education,” said Schaller.

Shindel retired after the 2020-21 school year. The School honored her at a pre-commencement ceremony with the following statement: 

“When Dr. Shindel joined the faculty in the School of Education as a full professor, she brought with her significant success and insight from her career of leadership.

Her students may not have always known how many programs she had led or how many grants she had written, but what they do know is that she was exceedingly insightful, patient and creative in the structure of her classes. She lent her expertise on dissertation committees for students in all the graduate programs in the School of Education and was a source of wisdom and support for many faculty.

Many of our graduate students knew Dr. Shindel as the professor of their statistics class or their mixed-methods class. Students have told us that Beth was one of the most attentive, patient, kind, and responsive faculty they have ever had – and in the end, they love statistics!

The Higher Education Administration faculty and students are especially thankful for Beth’s willingness to jump in to work on any problem with her decades of expertise.”

Shindel was devoted to her family. First of all to her son, Brian Freeburg, who shared her love of St. Louis Cardinals baseball. She married George Shindel in 2019, multiplying her extended family by a factor of three. She was also devoted to her five nephews.

Shindel is survived by her son, Brian Freeburg; her husband, George Shindel; sister Polly Winfrey Griffin; brother Bill Winfrey and his wife, Stephanie; and five nephews, Page Griffin, Will Winfrey, Daniel Griffin, Michael Winfrey and David Griffin. She is also survived by members of the Shindel family, Bruce and Nancy, Katherine, Bob and Janet, and Richard and Martha.

A service to celebrate Shindel’s life will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, at Schildknecht Funeral Home, 301 S. Lincoln Avenue, O’Fallon, IL 62269. Visitation will begin at noon.