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H.R. Shawhan, 90, WWII Veteran of Pleasantville

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Harold Robert "H.R." Shawhan, a longtime resident of Pleasantville, died April 22 at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco. He was 90.

Born in Hutchinson, Kan., in 1921, he was the son of Harold Robert Shawhan and Lillie Baker Shawhan. He grew up in Glendale, Calif., and was educated as a classical pianist. Shawhan graduated from Pomona College in 1943.

A Navy officer, he oversaw gunnery and damage control on LST 280, an assault ship that landed British troops on Gold Beach in the invasion of Normandy. The ship was torpedoed in the English Channel while transporting wounded British troops, and Shawhan helped keep the sinking ship afloat long enough to reach Portsmouth Harbor.

He later served as first lieutenant aboard the LST 1041 in the Pacific, supporting U.S. forces on Guam and Saipan, surviving a typhoon and delivering supplies to Nationalist forces in China. The ship was preparing for the invasion of Japan when World War II ended.

After the war, Shawhan earned master's degrees in musicology and history from Columbia University. He married his wife, Phyllis in 1994. From the late 1950s to the '80s he worked as a teacher and administrator at Albert Leonard Junior High School in New Rochelle.

He also provided private tutoring to many students in Westchester County. Shawhan was a fan of the New York Giants and attended games for many years.

He is survived by two sons, Peter (Joanne) Shawhan, of Delmar, N.Y., and Stephen (Kathy) Shawhan, of Hopatcong, N.J.; a daughter, Wanda (Wesley) Purvis of Cordova, Tenn.; eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and a nephew.

Funeral services will be private. Friends, former colleagues and students are invited to attend a memorial service at Beecher Funeral Home in Pleasantville at 2 p.m. on May 20.

Memorial donations may be made to the Pomona College Music Department, c/o Pomona Office of Annual Giving, Renwick House, 211 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711.

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