Bob Lind column: Neighbors: Jamestown alumni Hall all 'Shook' up

A little bit of history was made one day this spring at Jamestown (N.D.) College. It was the day a father and a son were inducted into the college's Alumni Hall of Fame. The honorees: Dr. Les Shook and his son Dr.

A little bit of history was made one day this spring at Jamestown (N.D.) College.

It was the day a father and a son were inducted into the college's Alumni Hall of Fame.

The honorees: Dr. Les Shook and his son Dr. Dale Shook, both of Fargo.

Jeremy Wells, the college's alumni director, says the Shooks are the only parent-child alumni in the hall of fame.

"We have some husbands and wives," Jeremy says, "and some members of the same family, but no parent-child."


It was, Les will tell you, quite a thrill, receiving the honor at all, let alone with his son.


Both are radiologists. Les retired from medicine in 1981. Dale is in private practice.

Les was born in Anamoose, N.D., and grew up in Drake, N.D., where he graduated from high school in 1938.

He attended Jamestown College, graduating in 1942 with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. But not before he blazed a trail in athletics, participating in basketball, track, baseball and football, lettering in about every sport in sight.

He went on to receive a bachelor's degree from the University of North Dakota in 1945 and his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Illinois in 1947.

His first medical practice was in Riverdale, N.D., during the building of the Garrison Dam, where he delivered about 1,100 babies. He also served as a physician in the military, and wound up as something of a one-man joint military operation.

He'd been discharged from the Navy. Near the end of the Korean War, he went back into the service, only in the Army, and was assigned to Camp Pendleton, Calif., a Marine base.


Now, Marines are treated only by Navy personnel. But the only radiologist around was Les Shook, an Army man. So, bending the rules just a tad, they put him in a Navy uniform.

So there was this guy from North Dakota in the Army wearing a Navy uniform and serving as the only radiologist for thousands of Marines.

Eventually, Les completed a residency in Kansas City. Then he came to Fargo, where he formed a private radiology group, Radiologists, Ltd., with two other radiologists.

Les was named a fellow emeritus in the American College of Radiology, the first North Dakotan to be so honored. He also served on many local and national medical boards.

He also has been active in many Fargo organizations. Among them: the Boy Scouts, the Red River Human Services Foundation, Masons, Elks, Sertoma Club, PTA and Chamber of Commerce.

And if he hadn't made it in medicine, he might have been a musical star; he plays a mean sax and violin.

For Les' induction into the hall of fame, the Rev. Emery Roy, his former pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Fargo, and, incidentally, a 1948 Jamestown College graduate, wrote: "It has been my privilege to know Dr. Shook for about 30 years. That smile of his is as bright and friendly as ever. I know of no one who by his life and work would bring more honor to an organization to which he is elected than Les Shook."

Les and his wife Ann (a 1944 Jamestown College graduate) brought four children into the world. One of them is Dale.


Dale, born in Bismarck, N.D., graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1964 and followed his parents to Jamestown College, from which he received a bachelor of science degree in physics in 1968.

He also followed his dad's footsteps on the college's athletic field; he played football there. "But dad was a better athlete than me," Dale says.

Dale was chairman of the Student Conduct Committee, the class rep to the executive cabinet and president of the Student Association. With all this, he was a Rhodes Scholar candidate, too.

Dale studied medicine at UND, then received his medical degree from Tufts School of Medicine, Boston, in 1972.

He did his internship at Hennepin County Hospital, Minneapolis, and his residency in radiology at the University of Minnesota.

He now practices radiology with Independent Radiology Services, Fargo. One of his partners is his brother Bob.

Dale served on Jamestown College's Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2000.

His wife Mona -- well, it should be no surprise that she, too, is a Jamestown graduate, also of the '68 class.


Mark Lehr, Fargo, Jamestown College class of '71, was assigned as a freshman to be the roommate of Dale, a senior. "Talk about intimidation," Dale says of this poor freshman spending his first year in college with a senior.

But apparently Dale wasn't all that bad a roomie. Mark wrote nice things about him for his induction into the hall: "Dale is very informed about the liberal arts curriculum and its application to Jamestown College. He remains committed to the ideal that the college should continue to be the most beneficial resource possible for its students and alumni."

Dale says it was a great feeling, being inducted into the hall of fame with his dad.

"It's always a privilege to do something with my father," he says, "but it was quite special to stand beside him to be inducted into the memories of the college. Good thing I have a father!"


Somewhere in the Shook family bylaws must be a clause that all Shooks must attend Jamestown College.

At least, many of them did. And do.

Les' and Ann's daughter Betsy and her husband Alan Baker, Fargo, both attended the school.


So did Ann's older sister, the late Peggy Nuessle, Bismarck, N.D.

Now the third generation is keeping the tradition going.

Dale and Mona have three children. Kirsten and Dale graduated from Jamestown College and are married to Jamestown College grads. They've produced three children among them, and all three kids now sport, naturally enough, Jamestown College sweatshirts.

Dale and Mona's third child, Cassie, will be a sophomore this fall at, of course, Jamestown College.

"It is," Dale says, "a disease."

But a nice one.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail

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