Almost 200 people gathered Wednesday at the Riverview Baptist Church in Pasco to honor 94-year-old Bill H. Shawver Sr., longtime Finley Elementary School teacher and principal.
Shawver died Feb. 29 in Boise, where he had been living near his son, Air Force Brig. Gen. William "Bill" Shawver Jr., who is assistant adjutant general in the Idaho Air National Guard and Director of Homeland Security for the state of Idaho.
Shawver died peacefully at the Life Care Center of Treasure Valley. He was a native of Comanche, Mont., born Dec. 16, 1917.
A lifelong educator and self-learner, Shawver came to Benton County in 1948 as principal of Finley Elementary and Junior High School, retiring 30 years later. He had graduated with honors a year earlier at Central Washington University.
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Shawver and his wife, Betty, never left the community where he quickly gained a reputation as a collector of historic information, and everything from antique musical devices, fossils, geologic specimens to early day radios, typewriters and adding machines.
He especially was interested in the life of Abraham Lincoln.
Shawver's varied activities led him to being a founding member of the Lakeside Gem and Mineral Society in the Tri-Cities in the 1950s.
The Rev. John Paisley of the Riverview Baptist Church said Shawver was a loyal and active member of the church for decades, and that he loved children.
Shawver in recent years allowed groups of children to visit his collections and learn about geology, meteors and fossils.
He also was a guest speaker several times at the Gem and Mineral Society's junior rock club meetings.
Shawver's wife, Betty, preceded him in death in 2007. He is survived by his adopted children, Bill Jr. and Becky Johnson, both of Boise; brother Carmen "Pinky" Pinkston of Peoria, Ariz.; two grandsons, four granddaughters; and eight great-grandchildren.