Retired W.Va. teacher known for generosity and skill

December 26, 2004|BY DAVE McMILLION

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." The story will take a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about David Henry Stanley, who died Dec. 18 at the age of 97. His obituary appeared in the Dec. 20 edition of The Herald-Mail.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A popular Berkeley County, W.Va., school teacher who was known for his generosity as well as his skill in the classroom was remembered by friends and family members this week.

David Henry Stanley, 97, of Martinsburg, W.Va., died last Saturday at his home.

Born in Jefferson County, W.Va., Stanley graduated from Shepherd College and began teaching in that county, his son, John D. Stanley, said. Throughout his career, he taught at the elementary level and at the high school level, his son said.


John Stanley said his father left the education field several times, but he always returned to teaching. David Stanley worked in the Baltimore shipyards during World War II and briefly went into business with his father, John Frances Miller. He also worked for a time in a Martinsburg lumber yard, John Stanley said.

But he was drawn back to the classroom, John Stanley said.

During his career, David Stanley taught shop at James Rumsey Technical Institute and was influential in how programs were developed there, friends said.

Stanley also taught at Winchester Avenue Elementary School, and friend Frank Brown, of Martinsburg, said he remembers his sister remarking about the way Stanley taught math.

"It was the first time she could ever understand math," Brown said.

Around 1960, David Stanley started teaching at Martinsburg High School. He retired from the school system about 13 years later, John Stanley said.

David Stanley taught shop at Martinsburg High School, and he demonstrated his woodworking skills in and out of the classroom, friends said.

Stanley often helped friends with home repair projects and much of his handiwork can be seen at Christ Reformed United Church of Christ in Martinsburg, where he was a longtime member, friends said.

Professional help was rarely hired for work at the church at 117 E. Burke St., because Stanley was usually doing it, Brown said.

Brown's wife, Dolores, remembers when Stanley built an altar for the church in memory of a stillborn child of a Martinsburg couple.

The altar, which Stanley made from walnut, is still in the church, Dolores Brown said.

"Its a beautiful piece. When he did something, it was done well," she said.

Stanley often looked out for widows at the church, taking care of routine maintenance at the homes of the women, said friend Leighton Miller of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Longtime friend Doug Arvin remembered when Stanley was at his house for a picnic and commented on a piece of leaking gutter on Arvin's house.

The next day, Stanley was at Arvin's house repairing it.

"He would do anything for anybody, usually without charge," said Arvin, of Martinsburg.

Stanley was affiliated with Christ Reformed United Church of Christ for more than 50 years and served as a Sunday school superintendent, Dolores Brown said.

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