Passings: Richard Shahan ’49

The DPAA is sad to announce the passing of Richard H. Shahan '49, a former DP reporter, columnist and editor. Shahan, 86, died January 9 in Austin, TX.

Shahan was a World War II Navy veteran of the Pacific campaign. In his four years at DP in the post-war 1940s, Shahan was a reporter, columnist, Junior Editor, Senior Editor, and City Editor. He graduated with a BA in Journalism back in the era when Penn granted journalism degrees. Shahan moved to New York, where he worked for Pfizer, American Airlines, and Alexander & Alexander, and picked up an MBA from NYU along the way.

With his wife, Gloria, he moved to Asheville, NC, where they owned and managed a historical gift store and were active as business community and civic leaders. Many years later, they moved to Austin, TX, where he formed his own communications consulting company, doing PR and marketing work. In the DP Alumni Directory a decade ago, he wrote, "I'm still creating, and still chewing nails & spitting rust at 75."

Several years later, at an age when most people would have long since retired, Shahan went back to school in order to become a teacher. "I decided to make a second career change to a job where I can make a real difference in the lives of children," Shahan wrote in the 2006-07 DP Alumni Directory. "I studied for a year to gain accreditation in my specialized area — U.S. History — that's been my passion for decades. Even at 80, I'm still going strong and love my kids and my challenging work. I can't wait to get to work each day."

Gloria Shahan told the DPAA that her late husband always said he hoped "to be 'the last man standing' — and I guess he almost was!"

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