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H.R. Shawhan, 90, a long-time resident of Pleasantville, NY, died of natural causes at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, NY on Sunday, April 22, 2012. The Shawhan family is grateful for the caring medical treatment provided to H.R. during his final illness by the hospital staff.
Born in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1921, he was the son of the late Harold Robert Shawhan and Lillie Baker Shawhan. He grew up in Glendale, California during the 1920s and 1930s. Educated as a classical pianist, he graduated from Pomona College in 1943.
As a U.S. Navy officer, he oversaw gunnery and damage control on an oceangoing amphibious assault ship, the LST 280, which landed British troops on Gold Beach in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After the LST 280 was torpedoed in the English Channel while transporting wounded British troops, he helped to keep the sinking ship afloat just long enough to reach Portsmouth Harbor. He later served as First Lieutenant on the LST 1041 in the Pacific, supporting U.S. forces on Guam and Saipan, surviving the typhoon which sank five of Admiral Halsey's destroyers, and delivering supplies to Nationalist forces in China. The LST 1041 was preparing for the invasion of Japan when the War ended.
After the War, he earned Master's degrees in Musicology and History from Columbia University. From the late 1950s until the 1980s, he worked as a teacher and administrator at Albert Leonard Junior High School in New Rochelle, NY. He also provided private tutoring for many students in Westchester County. He was a fan of the NY Giants from the mid-1950s on, and attended games for many years.
H.R. was a devoted husband to his beloved wife Phyllis, whom he married in 1944, for more than 60 years, until her death in 2005. He was the beloved father of, and is survived by, Peter (Joanne) Shawhan of Delmar, NY, Stephen (Kathy) Shawhan of Hopatcong, NJ, and Wanda (Wesley) Purvis of Cordova, TN. He is also survived by his grandchildren Mark Shawhan of NY City, Andrew Shawhan of Baltimore, MD, Damon Shawhan and Sarah Shawhan of Hopatcong, NJ, Veronica (Christopher) Novella of Freehold, NJ, Vanessa Kern of Jackson, NJ, Kyle (Brittany) Figueroa of Manteca, CA, and Adrianne Sanchez of the Bronx, NY; by his great-grandchildren Nicole and Christopher Novella Jr. of Freehold, NJ, Katie Kern of Jackson, NJ, and Samantha Martoral of the Bronx, NY; and by his nephew Kent (June) Saunders of Carmel Valley, CA.
Funeral arrangements will be private. Donations in H.R.'s memory may be made to the Music Department of Pomona College, in care of the Pomona Office of Annual Giving, Renwick House, 211 North College Avenue, Claremont, California 91711.
A memorial will be held at the Beecher Funeral Home, 418 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570, at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, 2012. Friends, former colleagues and students of H.R., and friends of the Shawhan family, are invited to attend. Condolences may be mailed to the Funeral Home, or submitted online at http://www.beecherfh.com/condolences.htm.
Published in the The Journal News on May 9, 2012