HANOVER - Burton Rendall "Buzz" Shirey, a long-time teacher, coach, administrator and community leader in Coudersport, died of natural causes at an assisted living facility in Hanover on Tuesday (March 22, 2016).
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He celebrated his 95th birthday on Feb. 16.
"Buzz," as he was known to his friends and family, was born on Feb. 16, 1921, in Freedom, to Reuben Bird Shirey and Pearl Mae Rendall Shirey.
He began his public education in rural Clarion County at the Delp School then returned to Freedom, where he graduated from Freedom High School in 1938. In high school, he served as his class treasurer and excelled in football and basketball. He continued his education at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, graduating in 1942 with a bachelor of arts degree. While attending college, Buzz worked at various steel mills in Beaver County during summer breaks, primarily at J&L Steel in Aliquippa.
After college graduation and resuming work in the steel industry for a short time, Buzz enlisted in the U.S. Navy and attended Officer Training School at Northwestern University in Chicago. Upon receiving his commission, he first served aboard an aircraft carrier in the Great Lakes training other Naval officers. Buzz then served in the North Atlantic on the USS Bear until a transfer to the South Pacific Theater aboard the USS Taluga until the end of World War II. He attained the rank of lieutenant. Upon his discharge from the Navy in San Diego, Calif., he resumed working at J&L Steel.
A teaching vacancy with the opportunity to coach basketball brought Buzz to tiny Sigel High School in Jefferson County. As a result of the success of Sigel's basketball teams during the 1946-47 and 1947-48 school years, Buzz was inducted into the Jefferson County Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1948, Buzz moved to Coudersport to teach and coach basketball and football. Buzz coached the Potter-McKean Little League All Star Baseball team in the 1951 Little League World Series in Williamsport. His Coudersport Falcons basketball team played in the 1952 PIAA Class C State Championship game.
Buzz continued his education at Alfred University and continued his educational career in Coudersport as a teacher, counselor, coach and principal. The final seven years of his career were served as superintendent of schools.
Buzz was a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of the Coudersport Consistory. He was a member of the American Legion Post 192 for more than 65 years. Buzz was a long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church of Coudersport, where he served as a Deacon, Elder and Sunday School teacher. He was active in numerous community organizations, most notably the Coudersport Exchange Club.
On June 23, 1950, in Lock Haven, Buzz married the former Edith Marie Machtley, a Coudersport health and physical education teacher. They were married 65 years and nine months. Edith survives along with the following children: Thomas (Cynthia) of Freeport, Susan Shirey of Coburn, Michael (Jill) of Hanover, Herbert (Jean) of Clarks Summit, Tami Shirey-Turchich of Hanover.
Buzz is survived by 12 grandchildren: Douglas (Vikki) Shirey, Stephen (Amy) Shirey, Tracy (Andrew) Brooks, Sean Patten, Ryan Patten, Lindsey Shirey, Jay Shirey, Nicholas (Angela) Shirey, Leigh Anne Shirey, Lauren Shirey, Alex Turchich, and Rachel (AJ) Spittel. He is also survived by six great-grandchildren, Aiden Shirey, Ava Shirey, Eliana Brooks, Nina Brooks, Easton Brooks and Aurora Spittel, as well as several nieces and nephews and their families.
Buzz was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Nellie Shirey Grimm.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Burton will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 30 at the First United Presbyterian Church of Coudersport, 402 N. Main St., Coudersport.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Wetzel Funeral Home & Crematory Inc., Hanover.
The family asks that memorials be made to the Coudersport Public Library Building Fund, 502 Park Ave., Coudersport, PA 16915.
To share memories of Burton R. "Buzz" Shirey, visit www.wetzelfuneralhome.com.
Wetzel Funeral Home - Hanover
549 Carlisle Street
Hanover, PA 17331
Published in The Bradford Era from Mar. 25 to Mar. 31, 2016