Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 10, 2013

Don Sheline: Longtime police chaplain, farmer enjoys retirement

By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL sherry.vanarsdall@goshennews.com
Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — Don Sheline has been busy since his retirement in 1994 after 32 years of service with Elkhart County government.

He took up painting and has taught watercolor painting and drawing classes besides traveling with his wife, Carolyn.

“We have had an exciting life,” Sheline said last week. “God has been good to us.”

Sheline is an ordained United Methodist Church pastor and is chaplain for the Indiana State Police (ISP) with 35 years of service. He started the Elkhart County Sheriff Department chaplaincy program in 1968 and was the first chaplain for the program.

In 2006, the Shelines spent three months aboard the Seven Seas Voyager on a cruise around the world where Don said he served as the Protestant chaplain.

“We spent 108 days on a cruise and I taught art along with being chaplain aboard the ship,” he said. “It was a tremendous trip, all over the world. Five continents and 41,000 sea miles. A favorite spot was Dubai. I never saw so much wealth as I did in Dubai.”

So Sheline said he gathered 150 police patches during his around the world cruise in 2006 from ISP and Elkhart County police.

“I exchanged police patches with international police. Some of them didn’t speak the same language but they got the message when I used my hands in pointing to their patches and the ones I had,” he said. “I think I’m the only one with an international police patch collection.”

Sheline has also been a farmer for 38 years on the side.

“I got more sermons on the tractor seat than anywhere else,” Sheline said, laughing. “I’ve pastored for local churches and fill in as needed.”

He was a Benton Township Trustee for eight years and on the Benton Township Advisory Board for 12 years. He attended Purdue University, DePauw University and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Sheline is also a veteran.

“I was in the Army. I enlisted in Jan. 14, 1952 and discharged Jan. 13, 1960,” he said. “I was active for two years and in the reserve for six years.”

He’s a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion.

The Shelines have also traveled extensively in the United States, including eight trips to Hawaii, several trips to Europe, Mexico, Russia, China, and Hong Kong. They have been married for 62 years this month.

Their two children, Donna and Thomas, are involved in law enforcement, as well. They have one grandson, Garrett, who’s a firefighter with the Goshen Fire Department and served in the Air Force.

Sheline has one other significant interest.

“I like to collect police cars and cars I’ve driven through the years,” Sheline said. “I’m a car nut.”