OLEAN - Arthur Edwin Shavalier went to be with his Heavenly Father on Sunday (March 16, 2014). Without ambulance or hospital, he died at home, in answer to his prayers, after suffering a stroke.
He was born June 1, 1922, on the family farm, approximately 1,200 feet from where he died. He was the son of Arthur E. Shavalier Sr. and Theresa Margaretta Fichtner Shavalier. On Dec. 16, 1948, he married his wife of 59 years, Gretchen Lillian Kautz, who predeceased him March 23, 2008 - Easter Sunday.
Arthur attended Olean public schools; Otto High School in Duke Center, Pa.; and the College of Hard Knocks. He began his career working in the oil fields, followed by National Munitions near Eldred, Pa.
During World War II
, he enlisted in the U.S. Army
on Sept. 30, 1942, and was assigned to the Eighth Air Force in England as an airplane mechanic. He volunteered for the infantry and served with the 106th Infantry Division in Germany until the war ended in May 1945. In the Pacific Theater, he served with the U.S. Navy
on detached service on Okinawa. After the war with Japan ended, he was honorably discharged Jan. 8, 1946, at Fort MacArthur, Calif.
He worked for the New York Telephone Co. for 35 years, retiring in 1981.
Art volunteered for the Red Cross, Olean General Hospital, Christmas in April and Angel Food Ministries. He was a scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 70; Sunday school teacher and superintendent; member of the Telephone Pioneers of America; and former member of Immanuel Lutheran of Olean for 83 years, transferring in 2006 to Bethel Lutheran, Portville, and to St. John's Lutheran Church, Allegany, in 2014.
Art was a force of nature. He was a self-described hip shooter who said what he thought and accomplished the task at hand while others were still planning. He was a master storyteller and all-around handy man. He was known for his outgoing personality, sense of humor, strong Christian faith, iron will and willingness to help by doing. Very physically active until the end, he was on the roof cleaning the chimney cap less than two weeks ago. When Art left his friends and family, he always joked, "I'm off, don't tell anybody."
Please remember him with a smile. Art also wanted to share a message: "This is not 'Goodbye,' but 'See you later!'"
Art is survived by a son, Daniel (Lucille) Shavalier of Olean; a daughter, Margaret Shavalier of Binghamton; a sister, Kathleen Ash of Indiana, Pa.; a son-in-law, David James of Boulder, Colo.; two grandchildren, Kara James of Boulder and Erik James of Boston; a sister-in-law, Kay Kautz of Olean; and several nieces and nephews.
Along with his loving wife, Art was predeceased by a daughter, Deborah A. Shavalier, in June 2009.
According to Art's wishes, there will be a memorial service at a date and time to be announced. Arrangements are under the direction of the Letro-McIntosh-Spink Funeral Home Inc., 646 E. State St., Olean.
Memorials may be made to the Salvation Army, 310 E. State St., Olean, NY 14760. Online condolences may be made at www.LetroMcIntoshSpinkFuneralHome.com.