Ray C. Shanaman

Ray C Shanaman

Yesterday Cindy Behney sent me the sad news that Ray C. Shanaman had passed away at the age of 87.

He was the husband of C. Perrietta (McMillen) Shanaman with whom he recently celebrated 42 years of marriage.

Born in Richland on December 9, 1935 he was the son of the late Claude and Mollie (Sellers) Shanaman.

Ray was a graduate of Richland High School and served in the United States Navy 1954-1958. He was the sexton at Grace UCC, Richland, for 50 years; was the treasurer of Neptune Fire Co., Richland, for nearly 60 years; along with his wife served as head chaperones for ELCO Band; former president of ELCO Band Boosters; former board member and president of the Richland Swimming Pool Association for many years, mayor of Richland Borough from fall 2013 to present & served as Treasurer of the Richland Beautification Committee.

Ray retired from the US Postal Service, in Richland, serving 25 years as a window clerk and the last ten years as Postmaster.

And the Neptune Fire Company released this statement:

It is with profound sadness that the Neptune Fire Co announces the passing of Past Asst Chief and past treasurer Ray Shanaman. Those who have lived in Richland for many years, know Ray’s smiling face from the Richland Post Office, where he worked for over 35 years.

Ray began his career with the Neptune Fire Company back when he was still in high school in 1953 as a young member. He Graduated from Richland High School in 1954. From there, he entered the U.S. Navy, served 4 years and received an honorable discharge. During his first year of service, Ray was stationed on the aircraft carriers and worked below deck on the steam powered slingshots that launched the aircraft from the ship. He finished the remaining 3 years stateside in Pensacola, Florida.

After his departure from the US Navy, Ray returned to Richland where he started working for the post office and returned to volunteering with the Neptune Fire Company. Upon his return, Ray became the treasurer of the fire company and remained in that position for the next 60 years! In 1972, Ray served as Asst. Fire Chief. Ray is well known for assisting at the Ladies Auxiliary Monday night bingo’s as the caller, he performed this duty for decades, Ray served on countless committees and will be deeply missed by all. 

It was just a few weeks ago that Cindy and I were exchanging messages about the Shanamans and I couldn’t initially recall Ray, there being so many Shanamans to remember; it was only when I saw Post Office in the obit that it clicked in my brain. Of course, how could I forget Ray’s smiling face from the Post Office!

But there were a lot of Shanamans in Richland.

It all started with Ray’s mother, the former Mollie Mae Sellers, who was born in Richland on April 9, 1905, which I believe was a few years before Richland was incorporated into a borough. She married Claude Clinton Shanaman on February 17, 1921, and later that year she gave birth to Ned in Richland.

But Mollie was only getting started.

In September of the following year she didn’t venture out of Richland to give birth to Lee, who by the way was to become the father of Sandra Shanaman, who was just a year ahead of me in school.

In 1923 Mollie decided to take a break, but in August of 1924 Richland saw the arrival of Fay, followed two years later in June by Jay.

Everyone who lived in Richland in the 50s and 60s remembers Jay Shanaman taking the tickets at the Neptune Theatre and thereafter maintaining the Neptune Fire Hall.

Mollie wasn’t finished yet. In 1927 she produced Lew. And again everyone in Richland remembers Lew, but probably not by that name. Googie Shanaman was as much a fixture of the town as the Fire Hall or the railroad tracks. (Actually, I was never quite sure if his nickname was ”Cookie” or “Googie” as different people pronounced it slightly differently, but it was definitely Googie.)

In 1928 and 30 Mollie had Gar and Lyn respectively, and then she took another well earned break.

Until 1934 when Dr. Moehlmann delivered Dale Shanaman.

What’s that, I hear you say. Up till now all of Mollie and Claude’s children have had three letter names. Dale? Yes, “Dale” was supposed to be “Dal” but Dr. Moehlmann got it wrong on the birth certificate, so poor Dale was stuck with the only four letter name among his brothers and sisters.

Then in 1935 Ray was born. Notice that all of Mollie’s children were born in Richland. Richland does not have a hospital, ergo Mollie was giving birth at home. She was a real trooper.

But Mollie wasn’t finished yet. Ina in 1940, Rea in 1941, Ken in 1943, and Ann in 1946, followed by Ora also in 1946 who sadly was a blue baby and didn’t survive. But in 1950 a literal bundle of Joy completed Mollie and Claude’s family.

According to Ray’s obit, Ann and Joy are the sole surviving siblings.

Mollie passed away in 1976 followed by Claude the following year.

I wonder what family holiday dinners were like for the Shanaman clan?

Leave a Reply