Richard C. "Dick" Shain

August 08, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes 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 Richard C. "Dick" Shain, who died July 23 at the age of 63. His obituary was published July 29 in The Herald-Mail.

In the 1960s, "Sears has everything" was a popular commercial catch phrase.

It seems Sears had just what Dick Shain was looking for -- he found his future wife, Mary Willson, working at the Sears switchboard when he was selling carpet for the chain store at night.

"He'd come back and talk with me when things were slow," Mary said.

They were married 82 days after their first date, and would have been married 42 years on Aug. 31.

In their early years as husband and wife, Dick pursued a career in plumbing -- a trade he learned from his father, Mary said. And Dick learned estimating, from which he earned a living for many years.


A master plumber, Dick first began sharing his knowledge with plumbing students in Winchester, Va., at the urging of a boss he had then.

He later taught plumbing for the Cumberland Valley Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors for about six years. His masterful teaching style didn't escape the notice of Joan Warner, longtime executive director of ABC.

"Dick was an excellent instructor -- a top-notch mechanic," Joan said by telephone.

Joan said Dick distinguished himself with his ability to talk in terms that his students could understand. And they liked and admired him for that, she said.

Though Dick got paid for teaching at ABC, he also was willing and able to volunteer when needed because he was dedicated to his trade, Joan said.

"Dick had employees who were in the ABC program," Joan said. "He did what he did to give back to the industry."

Joan said Dick's presence in the classrooms will be missed.

"I kept my other job at Washington County Hospital for a while and then I had Richelle and Susan," Mary said.

She went back to work as a medical secretary at Western Maryland Hospital Center. Then the couple's son, Richard C. Shain II, was born.

Even with all of this activity in his life, Dick still found time to volunteer. He did this, his family said, because he cared so much about other people.

Dick taught first aid, advanced first aid and CPR for the American Red Cross of Washington County, volunteered with the American Heart Association, and was an active participant as an EMT with Community Rescue Service and the Maugansville Volunteer Fire Co.

Susan recalled a Labor Day weekend when she cut her leg on a piece of glass. Only 12 at the time, Susan said she remembers her dad calling the doctor and telling him that she was going to need about seven stitches.

"And that's how many I got at the hospital," Susan said.

Mary said she can recall times when Dick would himself get injured and he would stitch up the wound himself.

"Dick also did maintenance work at United Cerebral Palsy group homes," Mary said. And in the early 1970s, Dick spent time working for both the Hagerstown City Police and Williamsport Police.

Richelle said her dad always supported her when she was growing up.

"I was in drama and the orchestra and he would always come," she said.

Susan was in the band at North Hagerstown High School and at Heritage Academy.

"Dad came to those performances and to our brother Ritchie's games, too," she said.

Both daughters said their father was always busy, so family vacations were few and far between. The girls recalled going along to a church camp in Buckeystown, Md., because their dad was working there.

"We would joke and carry on with him," Richelle said. "Some of my friends were afraid of him but he wasn't mean, just crusty."

The grandchildren were Dick's pride and joy and he doted on them. The man they called Granddaddy always had treats when they came to visit.

"Chloe (Shain) is only 7 but she found the courage to speak up at her grandfather's funeral," Mary said. "She said he was a nice man and she loved him and then she sat down."

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