FISHLAKE NATIONAL FOREST—Service to others is part of “Pink” Shinsel’s DNA, his daughter said after he received the Axtell Walking Stick last Saturday, July 23, at a community Pioneer Day gathering in Willow Creek Canyon.
“It’s who he is,” Cidney Shinsel of Salina said in an interview after her father, received the award. “We never went on a vacation without stopping to help someone broken down on the side of the road. It didn’t matter if dad knew them or not, if they were in trouble, he was going to do all he could to get them back on their way.”
During the presentation in front of about 100 of Pink’s friends and neighbors, Megan Oropez, a granddaughter, said whatever a neighbor has needed, Pink has stepped in to help.
“If you need food, he’ll feed you. If you’re cold, he’ll keep you warm. If you need guidance, he’ll guide you,” she said.
Presentation of the Walking Stick, which signifies walking many miles in service to the community, was the highlight of an event that included a potluck picnic, games, comments about the contributions of the Mormon pioneers and an auction that raised thousands of dollars for the Young Men’s and Young Women’s programs in the Axtell LDS Ward.
Bishop Josh Egan of the Axtell Ward opened the formal part of the program. “It’s 175 years today since Brigham Young came into the Salt Lake Valley,” he said. “It’s amazing to think how time flies and how much we owe to the pioneers.”
Pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Settlement of the Axtell area began in the 1850s, Egan said. One characteristic of the pioneers was that they didn’t focus on their hardships or blame their leaders for their trials, he said. “They learned to accept their plight and move forward with strength.”
Following his remarks, Egan presented the Walking Stick. Then Kerry Despain and Bruce King officiated at an auction where items offered for sale included a plate of lemon bars, bread baking lessons, a crocheted Utah Jazz blanket and a swing set built by Lyle Young Welding of Gunnison.
Pink Shinsel, 86, grew up in Riverton in Salt Lake County, while his late wife, Beth, was from Murray. Granddaughter, Megan Oropeza, said the family story is that Pink’s brother asked his mother what color he would be when he was born. “Pink,” she replied, and the color became the new baby’s name for life.
According to Cidney, in the 1970s, Pink and Beth moved to Salina, where he worked for Robinson Transport.
In 1978, they found property in Axtell and moved to the community. From 1978-83, he operated an auto repair shop, S&H Auto, in Gunnison. In 1983, the family moved to Las Vegas, where Pink worked as a mechanic repairing heavy construction equipment for the next 16 years.
“He can fix anything,” Cidney said. “He’s a mechanic, slash, engineer.”
In 1999, Pink retired, and he and Beth moved back to Axtell. According to Cidney, when she asked him how he liked being back, he said, “If you told me that I’ve died and gone to heaven, I’d believe you.”
He’s been through some difficult times in recent years. His oldest daughter, Rita Cejudo, who lived in Axtell, died in 2019. His wife Beth died June 2021 at 73.
Besides his daughter Cidney in Salina, he has a son, Tracy, in Austin, Texas and a daughter Mikal Chavarria, in Fort Collins, Colorado. He also has 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He was lucky enough to have his granddaughters, Megan Oropeza (Cejudo) and Morgan Gonzalez (Cejudo) grow up down the lane from him. To put it mildly, Pink has played an influential role in their day to day lives. He is adored by all of his grandchildren.
Granddaughter Megan Oropez summed up her grand- parents, saying, “The one thing they loved most is their community.” Those feelings have been returned, especially to Pink in the last year, she said, adding, “Thank you for loving him.”