Roy Baker Shaver
Neosho - Roy Baker Shaver, longtime Neosho educator and community servant passed away July 14, 2021, just shy of his 89th birthday.
Shaver was born on July 30, 1932, and grew up in Evening Shade, Arkansas. As a child he fell in love with the pastor's daughter, Ann, who would later become his wife of 54 years.
A 1954 graduate of the University of Arkansas, Shaver was a lifelong Razorback fan and enthusiastic hog-caller. After earning his B.A. degree, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, attending the recently established Ranger School for officer training. Only 66 years later did he finally read his orders, discovering he completed the Army's most challenging officer training course as a Distinguished Graduate. His tour of duty was in Germany as an infantry platoon leader.
Returning to civilian life, he began his lifelong career as an educator at Southwest High School in Washburn, Missouri. He taught social studies. He later became a high school principal while pursuing his master's degree in education.
At Cassville, Missouri, he was high school principal then superintendent of schools. He led the district through a rapid expansion when it consolidated with neighboring Barry County rural schools. With increased federal funding in education that occurred in the 1960s, he established local programs for a public kindergarten, school lunches, special education, and Head Start.
In 1966, he returned to the University of Arkansas to complete his doctorate in educational administration and then directed a federal program to establish a model integrated high school in Monticello, Arkansas. In 1968, he returned to Southwest Missouri with Ann and their four young children. They choose to live in Neosho and would remain there for the rest of their lives.
Shaver first served as assistant superintendent of the Neosho R-5 School District and later as superintendent, retiring in 1996. Roy had a keen understanding that public schools were the heart of a small town, and a strong school system could not only improve the future of its students but could bind together a city's residents and help anchor a solid economic foundation for the entire community. He took great pride when former students and colleagues did well. His favorite accomplishments during his tenure in Neosho involved overseeing the improvement of numerous school facilities, including the construction of the new Middle School.
Shaver was a devoted baseball fan, and, upon his retirement, the Board of Education named the Veta Street baseball field in his honor. He joked, "this could be the first time in history that a ballpark was named for a .130 hitter." In March of this year, Shaver threw out the first pitch when the school's recently constructed baseball stadium was christened as the new Roy B. Shaver Baseball Field.
Roy has long enjoyed the loving support of his church family. He was a devoted member and lay leader of the Neosho United Methodist Church, and he occasionally contributed to the Upper Room, a Methodist devotional magazine distributed worldwide. He was secretary of the Neosho Layman's League for over 40 years, helping organize the non-denominational organization's annual Christmas services.
Roy was an active community volunteer, generous with his time and gifts. He was a 52-year member of the Rotary Club of Neosho, where he coordinated its annual Dogwood Tour. Jokes were made about Roy's formula for predicting when the area's dogwoods would bloom. He was a founding member of the Freeman Neosho Hospital Board, serving since its creation in 1996. He was a member and past chairman of the George Washington Carver Birthplace District Association. He was a charter member and past president of the Crowder Area Sheltered Workshop, now known as Crowder Industries, serving 20 years on the board. In 1972, he was elected to the Neosho Home Rule Charter Commission and helped draft the new City Charter. Among his many honors, Shaver was named the 2001 Citizen of the Year by the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce.
In his later years, Shaver pursued his passion for humor, history, and storytelling, writing a weekly column for the News Dispatch and the Neosho Daily News.
A celebration of Roy's life will be held Monday July 19, 2021 at the United Methodist Church Neosho, Missouri. The family will receive visitors on Sunday July 18, 2021 from 3:00- 5:00 P.M. at the Methodist Christian Life Center.
He is survived by his four children, Mike Shaver of Astoria, Queens, New York; Beth Shaver of Nashville, Tennessee; Susan Shaver (Scott Wiederholt) of Atlanta, Georgia; and Lisa Shaver of Waco, Texas; his two grandchildren Lydia and Eli Wiederholt, also of Atlanta, as well as Amy Shaver, a sister-in-law, of Batesville, Arkansas.
Ann, his beloved wife, died in 2014. Also preceding him in death were his parents Allen M. and Lorena Baker Shaver, as well as his brothers, Allen A. and Carl, and a sister, Roberta.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of Roy may be made to the Neosho United Methodist Church or the Neosho R-5 Charitable Foundation in care of Clark's Funeral Home.
Posted online on July 16, 2021