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Columbia Missourian

Former Stephens College professor Constance Schenk was an avid traveler

By Brian Hayes
September 16, 2013 | 9:04 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Constance Schenk dedicated her life to leaving a positive legacy.

One of her ways of doing this was by teaching. She taught language classes at Stephens College for 25 years.

Another way was by getting to know people in all 50 states and many other countries during her extensive travels. 

She combined the two methods by creating study abroad programs that gave students international experiences of their own, according to her self-written obituary.

Constance Schenk of Columbia died on Friday, September 13. She was 85.

She was born on January 6, 1928, in Buffalo, N.Y., to Conrad and Averil (Thomas) Schenk.

Miss Schenk's wanderlust traces back to her roots.

Her parents moved from Buffalo to Illinois after she was born. Miss Schenk moved to Columbia to get her associate's degree from Stephens College. After earning bachelor's and master's degrees in French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she held several teaching and translating jobs throughout the Midwest.

When Miss Schenk took a job in the Stephens College foreign language department, where she would work for 25 years, she immediately looked for more opportunities to travel.

Miss Schenk's language aptitude, which she possessed from a young age, complemented her interest in other cultures, said Alan Havig, who worked with her at Stephens College.

"She was fascinated with other cultures," Havig said.

Miss Schenk used her connections from her international travels to create two study abroad programs.

"She knew the other countries very well and had contacts," Havig said. "She was a real asset to the community and to Stephens."

Miss Schenk traveled to Mexico, Britain, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, Japan, China, Turkey, Greece and all 50 states. But regardless of where she was, Miss Schenk always made sure she spread the happiness with which she lived, according to her obituary.

"She liked to talk to us in languages we didn't understand," Havig said. "It was funny for us. And that made it fun for her."

A memorial service to be held at Calvary Episcopal Church has yet to be scheduled.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Stephens College Endowment Fund, 1200 E. Broadway, Columbia MO 65205; Calvary Episcopal Church, 123 S. Ninth St., Columbia, MO 65201; or the charity of one's choice.

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