Harold Wesley Shafer Biography


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     Harold Wesley Shafer was a dedicated teaching professional who served his community, his students, and his family with dignity and respect.  He was a respected and accomplished educator for more than 55 years, serving communities in both Ohio and Kentucky.  An expert carpenter and woodworker, Mr. Shafer motivated hundreds of students, friends, and acquaintances throughout his career.  He inspired all those with whom he had contact to set their goals high and to never lose focus on that dream.

     Born in 1901 in Lawrence County, Ohio, the son of E.T. Shafer and Rita Elcessor Shafer, Mr. Shafer was one of eight children, five of whom became teachers.  He began his teaching career in 1918 when he was 17 years old.  Due to teacher shortages in rural areas, it was common practice in those days to take gifted students, who were completing college courses in the field of education, and place them in teaching positions.

     Several years later,  Mr. Shafer completed his "cadet degree" in Education from Rio Grande College in 1922 and took his first professional position in the little Lawrence County town of Waterloo.  In a one-room schoolhouse heated by a pot-belly stove, he taught students in all levels, from grade one through their completion of high school, which was equivalent to eight years of education.  In addition, he established the first girls high school basketball team in the area.  At the time, many parents had mixed feelings regarding girls' athletics and, as a result, it was necessary to ask his wife, Rose Mary Haas Shafer, whom he married in 1928, to stand in occasonally as a substitute player.

     In 1933, Mr. Shafer graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Education and also received his High School Principal Certificate.  He began his first teaching assignment in the Ironton City School System in 1934 and taught at several schools in Ironton including Central Elementary, Campbell Elementary, and Ironton High School.  He also coached numerous grade school basketball teams for these same schools. 

     In 1954, Mr. Shafer began teaching Industrial Arts at Ironton High School and retired from the position in 1962.  The following year he immediately began teaching in the Boyd County School District in Kentucky where he established co-education classes in the industrial arts areas for those students who showed an interest.  Following his second retirement in 1972, he launched the Retired Senior Citizen Program (RSCP) in Lawrence County, Ohio.

     Mr. Shafer passed away in 1979.  From the partnership marriage of 51 years, Mr. Harold Wesley Shafer and Mrs. Rose Mary Shafer are now survived by their four children, Rita A. Blair, Mary M. McMackin, Thomas A. Shafer, and Carolyn R. Reeves, and seven grandchildren, Richard E. Blair, Jack Andy Blair, Patrick C. McMackin, Carolyn R. McMackin, Shawn T. Shafer, Michael W. Reeves, and Joseph B. Reeves.


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