At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Hackett Catholic Prep Boosters
1000 Kilgore Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a strong sense of faith, an unshakable work ethic, and the wisdom that came from serving his country in WWII, Paul Shebest lived a humble, generous, independent life. A devoted husband of 70 years, a proud father, and a delighted grandfather, Paul possessed a good sense of humor and a quiet appreciation for his many blessings. Never one to need the spotlight, Paul was contented to quietly tend to his responsibilities and humbly be of service to others. With a strong will and an undauntable sense of humor, Paul embraced each day as a blessing and in so doing inspired others to do just the same.
1919 proved to be a year filled with significant events. With the Treaty of Versailles, the year began with the official end of WWI and was soon followed by the creation of the League of Nation, known today as the United Nations.Congress established Grand Canyon National Park, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt married, Daylight Saving Time began in the US, Prohibition came into force with the passing of the 18th Amendment in January, and women finally secured the right to vote with the passing of the 19th Amendment on June 4th. Home life gained significant improvements as both the rotary telephone and the pop-up toaster were invented this year. It was a time rooted in the warmth of peace and prosperous hope. Nowhere was there more hope than in the Williamsport, PA home of Walter and Marie (Shaffer) Shebest who welcomed their son Paul on December 16th.
Growing up in Williamsport, PA, known at the time as “The Lumber Capital of the World” and the original home of Little League Baseball, Paul experienced the typical youth of his generation. With his earliest years rooted in the Roaring Twenties and his teens in the Great Depression, Paul witnessed much change during his youth. These formative years proved a solid foundation upon which Paul built the moral compass that guided him through the rest of his many days.
During his years at St. Joseph High School, Paul had the good fortune of meeting Jane McNamee. The two dated and quickly realized their hearts were destined for one another. In 1942, when America declared war following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Paul enlisted in the Army on February 21st. As the young couple wished to marry before Paul was deployed into action, Jane traveled by train to Jacksonville, Florida where Paul was stationed, and the two exchanged wedding vows on September 15th. Shortly thereafter, Paul shipped out to Europe while Jane returned to Williamsport and began working Paul’s advertising job at the Sun-Gazette.
Honorably serving his country as a Staff Sergeant in the US Army 29th Division; 227th Field Artillery, Paul spent the next three years in England, France, and Germany. Despite being a fiercely private man, who shared very little, Paul vividly recalled arriving on the second day of Normandy, “We had to drag Howitzers, four 155s, and wade through waist-deep water. We got on shore sopping wet. There were still bodies on the beach.” Originally stationed in the infantry when his unit asked for volunteers for radio school, Paul stepped up. Later in life, he said that it ended up “working out for me.” Paul’s proud war service left indelible memories. Even at the age of 97 Paul could easily remember his serial number: 33153024.
Paul returned to the US in September of 1945 and gladly reunited with his bride. The couple soon celebrated the birth of their first child Pamela, and their joy continued to grow as the welcomed Patricia, Paula, and Philip in short order. While Jane focused her attentions on caring for their home, Paul returned to the Williamsport Sun-Gazette where he worked for 50 years, eventually retiring as business manager.
In addition to his family, Paul possessed a deep love of the game of golf and managed to regularly hit the greens well into his 80s. When not reading a good mystery or working a crossword puzzle, Paul enjoyed spending time watching baseball. He was a devoted Red Sox fan and he held season tickets for the minor league team in Williamsport. Paul also enjoyed the companionship of a fine dog, watching old musicals, especially The Music Man, and being of service to others. Whether volunteering his time with the Lions Club, Rotary, Elks, or the Kiwanis Club, Paul quietly and generously gave of his time and talents for the causes they supported.
After retiring in 1990 Paul and Jane began to split their time between Williamsport and Edgewater, FL. In 2002 they moved to Florida full time. Not only did the couple enjoy their time in Florida, they also took many wonderful trips including more than two dozen cruises all over the world. Paul declared the cruise to the Eastern Caribbean as his all time favorite. Paul and Jane also shared their faith and were active members of Annunciation; St. Joseph the Worker in Williamsport, PA.
After 70 blessed years together, Jane drew her last breath while visiting family in Michigan in 2012. Shortly after her death, Paul moved to Kalamazoo where he spent his final years in the good company of his daughter and son-in-law. A devout Catholic, Paul continued to explore and celebrate his faith with the fellowship at St. Monica’s in Kalamazoo.
Paul's generous spirit, unwavering faith, and gratitude for the simple things will long inspire fond memories for those who knew him best. Paul was treasured by many, and he will be deeply missed by those who will proudly carry his legacy forward in their daily lives.
Paul Charles Shebest died peacefully at the age of 97 on May 30, 2017, at Rose Arbor Hospice. On September 15, 1942, he was united in marriage to Jane (McNamee) Shebest who preceded him in death in 2012. Paul is also preceded in death by five siblings: Walter, Bernard and Joseph Shebest, Rosemary Steckel and Katherine Hauze. Members of his family included four children: Pamela (Kenneth Penn) Shebest of Kalamazoo, Patricia (Douglas) Crockett of Whittier, NC, Paula (Ken Barry) Shebest of Peabody, MA and Philip (Susan Cornell) Shebest of Potomac, MD; 7 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Cremation will take place and private services will be held in Williamsport, PA. Please visit Paul’s personal memory page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com where you can read his life story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made Animal Rescue Project or Hackett Catholic Prep Boosters. Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900