Shank, Selena Gamber (1893-1990)

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Selena Gamber, born 10 June 1893, died 5 March 1990, graduated from Lancaster General Hospital's nursing school in 1919 and from Toronto Bible College in 1923. In five articles about nursing (1921), she encouraged young women to respond to health needs. Two years later she was a Mennonite Church (MC) missionary in central Argentina.

She wrote descriptively of home life among poor, middle class, and wealthy people; she wrote about nursing opportunities. When a mission family was on furlough, she left an orphanage assignment to be general superintendent at the Carlos Casares station, doing a wide variety of tasks, except preaching. During an extended furlough (1933-1937) she supervised nursing work at Mennonite Hospital, La Junta, Colorado.

In 1942 Selena married veteran Argentina missionary J. W. Shank. Together they ventured into new work among Chaco Indians, she with tasks as nurse, teacher, cook. After 1950 Shanks had assignments at the Chicago Spanish Mission, Eastern Mennonite College, in Puerto Rico, and at La Junta, Colorado. Selena substituted as school nurse, created a course of study and trained nurse aides, and was nurse in charge of a retirement nursing home. She moved to Kansas in her retirement.


Gamber, Selena. "Nursing as a Vocation." Youth's Christian Companion 2 (31 July 1921): 522, 534, 540, 546, 557.

Gamber, Selena. A series titled: "Home Life in the Argentine." Youth's Christian Companion 7 (6-21 February 1926): 45, 53, 57.

Gamber, Selena. "Medical Mission in South America." Youth's Christian Companion (11 July 1926): 217-218.

Shank, J. W. "Autobiographical Notes." [also titled: "Establishing Christ's Church Under the Southern Cross"] Typescript, Hesston, KS 1969.

"Shank, Selena Gamber." Gospel Herald 83 (27 March 1990). Reproduced in MennObits. "Gospel Herald Obituary - March 1990."  Accessed 10 June 2006. <>

Author(s) Dorothy Yoder Nyce
Date Published 1989

Cite This Article

MLA style

Nyce, Dorothy Yoder. "Shank, Selena Gamber (1893-1990)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 23 Oct 2021.,_Selena_Gamber_(1893-1990)&oldid=77748.

APA style

Nyce, Dorothy Yoder. (1989). Shank, Selena Gamber (1893-1990). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 October 2021, from,_Selena_Gamber_(1893-1990)&oldid=77748.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 818. All rights reserved.

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