Friday, June 4, 2010

Obituary: John F. Shovlin III / World War II veteran, school board member

June 1927 - June 1, 2010

Friday, June 04, 2010
By Anthony Fenech, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In 1945, John F. Shovlin III was a Navy electrician aboard the USS Santa Fe in the Pacific Ocean, one of the youngest among the crew during World War II.

A short time later, in October of 1946, the light cruiser was decommissioned from wartime sailing, but Mr. Shovlin was determined to sail on with his crew.

The Mt. Lebanon resident did just that, as longtime chairman of the USS Santa Fe Association, orchestrating the group and their annual crew reunions since the war.

He also played an integral role in Beaver County education, working for nearly two decades on the betterment of students and schools in the area.

On Tuesday, Mr. Shovlin died at Providence Park retirement community in Mt. Lebanon. He was 82.

"He was the old cliche, a true people person," said his wife of 25 years, Dr. Betty Radvak-Shovlin. "He loved to be around people, and he joined places where they were."

Mr. Shovlin, originally from Midland, was a Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War, serving in both active and reserve duty from 1945 to 1954. He joined the USS Santa Fe as a 17-year-old electrician working in the internal communications unit of the ship.

"John was a very good worker and always strived to get the job done," said Harold Hartmann of West Haven, Conn., a friend of Mr. Shovlin's since meeting him on the ship.

The pair were part of a crew that earned 16 battle stars, a presidential unit citation and a Navy unit commendation.

To Mr. Hartmann -- one of the elder statesmen aboard -- Mr. Shovlin's personality and work ethic were infectious.

"He was always the perfect gentleman," Mr. Hartmann said. "But he was also aggressive with his job, made friends very easily and was well-liked."

The friendships made onboard lasted a lifetime, something that was prevalent in his future endeavors as chairman of the USS Santa Fe Association for the past 20 years.

"He always said he would work as hard as he could to repay those men because he respected them so much," Dr. Radvak-Shovlin said. "It impacted his life greatly."

Mr. Shovlin also was affiliated with the American Legion Post 481 and VFW Post 8168 of Midland.

He retired from the Crucible Divison of Colt Industries after 36 years of work and spent two years with IMS International as an assistant superintendent, establishing a steel plant in Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies.

Upon returning from overseas, he pursued better education opportunities for Beaver County students, serving as a school director for 18 years in the Midland School District.

Later, he was one of nine initial directors responsible for building the foundation of what would become Beaver County Community College.

"People saw his ability," said Mr. Hartmann. "He was very bright and enjoyed doing things for people and being with them in all capacities."

In addition to his wife, Mr. Shovlin is survived by his son, Michael of Beaver; one sister, Mary Ann Ferlaino of East Liverpool, Ohio; and three grandsons. A funeral Liturgy will be celebrated today at 10:30 a.m. in St. Gregory Byzantine Catholic Church in Upper St. Clair.

Memorial contributions can be made to Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril & Methodius, 3605 Perrysville Ave., Pittsburgh 15214.

Anthony Fenech: or 412-263-1255.

No comments: