Aransas County residents who lived here back in the 70s, up to 2000, probably remember Mike Shellenbergar, DDS, the second fulltime dentist in Aransas County.
A friend of his in college opened up a dental office in Corpus Christi, and operated a satellite office in Encino Plaza on Market Street, which was open two days a week.
“After graduating from high school, and after a short stint in the Army, I started college on the Vietnam G.I Bill. A friend called me and told me about his part time Rockport office, a while before I graduated from dental school,” said Shellenbergar.
He moved here in the late 70s. He married a local girl, Nancy Nesloney, and everything was rocking along, as it should, until 1991 when Nancy passed away, days after the birth of their daughter, Morgan, who is now 29 years old, and living in Fort Collins, CO.
In 2001, after Morgan reached the age of nine, Shellenbergar packed his bags and moved to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico where he starting writing his first novel, Recover and Terminate.
Since selling his Rockport dental practice, he has lived in Playa Del Carmen and Colorado, and is now back in Rockport, settled into a Key Allegro condominium.
Today, he is spending time pursuing his passion for writing – something he always wanted to do. To date, he has written 11 novels, with six of them published. Three are action thrillers, and three are western themed.
Shellenbergar, who is also a dive master, discovered Playa del Carmen during a dive trip to Cozumel, and quickly learned it was cheaper to live in Playa del Carmen, instead of taking the ferry all the time from Cozumel.
When he was in Mexico he served as the president of the homeowners association for the neighborhood in which he lived.
“I got that position by default,” he said. “I was the only Gringo who spoke Spanish. Most of the other property owners lived in other parts of the world, and were only at their homes for a couple of months each year.”
He took four years of Spanish in high school, and came close to earning a degree in Spanish in college, so he was up for the job.
Shellenbergar noted property laws in Mexico are much different than in the United States.
“There was a vacant house in the neighborhood, and a member of a drug cartel decided to move in,” he said. “In Mexico, if you move into a vacant home, it basically becomes yours.”
The cartel member never paid his dues to the association, and Shellenbergar had to approach him about paying his debt.
To make a long story short, it turned sour quickly, involving other cartel members.
Shellenbergar’s life was threatened on several occasions.
“It was no longer safe for me to live there, and I decided to move to Colorado,” he said. “I couldn’t have a gun (in Mexico), so I figured, why get killed by an idiot for no good reason?”
Before leaving, however, he started writing about his experience, and it turned into his first novel.
“Recover and Terminate is about a cartel guy kidnapping a Senator’s daughter, and the President sends his ‘team’ down to rescue her.”
It is the first in a series, which includes Prairie Fire and The Wrong Side of Paradise.
In second of the series, the Senator’s daughter that was recovered from the drug cartel is a member of the “team”.
In 2016, after 15 years in Mexico, Shellenbergar moved to Colorado.
He also bought a condo on Key Allegro – the week before Hurricane Harvey.
“I was going to be a Winter Texan,” said Shellenbergar. “I would live in Colorado during the summer, and in Rockport during the winters.”
That plan fell apart after Harvey, but the condo has been repaired, and Shellenbergar has since decided to sell his Colorado home and move here permanently.
“At my age, more than 200 inches of snow isn’t as exciting as it once was,” he said.
His western novels include Refuge, the first in his Cinch McCall series; Four-Flusher, the first in his Elijah Pike series; and Quail Creek Ranch, which is a western love story.
“Quail Creek Ranch has a little bit of my life in it. Those who know me will recognize it,” said Shellenbergar.
For more information about Shellenbergar’s books, or to contact him, visit mikeshellenbergar.com.
All of his books can be purchased on Amazon.