William Alan "Willie" Shank of Forest Hill, W.Va., a senior computer specialist at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009.

Shank was born on Aug. 3, 1961, and was the son of William "Bill" and Janet Chaney Shank of Greenbank, W.Va.

Shank joined the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute in 2004, and had been at Virginia Tech since 1999. In his time at the institute, he worked on many computer projects for Virginia Bioinformatics Institutes’s key day-to-day operations, including administration, core laboratory systems, human resources, and facilities. In addition to being a consummate professional, Shank was an incredibly nice person and a pleasure to work with. He was universally known for his unflappable and modest nature – “the Master of Understatement.” He also loved keeping a running argument with his Hokie colleagues, because he was an avid West Virginia Mountaineers follower.

Shank was an active member of Countryside Baptist Church at Forest Hill and played a large part in the Upward Sports Ministry at the church.

Shank was the devoted husband of Cathy Blume Shank, and father of two daughters, Nicole and Amber Harvey. Other survivors include: one sister, Cindy Pritt and husband John of Huntersville, WVa; one brother, Michael Shank and wife Jannel of Mt. Sydney, Va; father and mother-in-law, Jim and Pat Blume; brothers and sisters-in-law, Jim and Sally Blume of Forest Hill; and Paul and Robin Blume of Fairdale, WVa; nephews, Andrew and Matthew Pritt, Jamie, Chris, Peyton and David Blume; nieces, Heather Pritt, Jennifer and Krystina Shank, Mindy, Alandra, Stephanie, Bryanna and Bria Blume; a much loved aunt and uncle, Linda and Daryll Fazenbaker and closest friends, Rick and Robin Ford of Forest Hill. He is also survived by many cousins and countless friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care in memory of Shank's grandmother, Hazel Chaney, the American Cancer Society in honor and memory of those who battle this disease, or the Dickie Noel Scholarship Fund.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday Nov. 20, 2009, at Pivont Funeral Home Chapel in Hinton with Pastors Jimmy Jones and Julian Rittenhouse officiating. Private burial will follow in the family cemetery at Forest Hill. Friends may call from 11 a.m. until time of services on Friday at the funeral home.

Those in the university community who may wish assistance or desire counseling support may contact:

Referrals to a campus minister may be done through the Dean of Students Office at (540) 231-3787.

Share this story