Wilbert L. Shannon Sr.


Wilbert L. Shannon Sr., 83, of Wheatland, died unexpectedly Sunday, March 11, 2018, at Sharon Regional Medical Center after a brief illness.
He was born Aug. 20, 1934, in Cheraw, S.C., the son of the late Jeff and Alice M. Lee Shannon.
He was raised in Wheatland and Farrell, and was a 1953 graduate of Farrell High School.
Mr. Shannon attended Grambling University in Louisiana; Cheyney (Pa.) State; and was a graduate of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in Pittsburgh.
He became a licensed funeral director and embalmer in January 1957, and had licenses in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He also was formerly licensed in New York and West Virginia.
A U.S. Army veteran, he established the Wilbert L. Shannon Funeral Home in June 1959.
Mr. Shannon is survived by his wife, Bernice Laverne Morgan Shannon, whom he married in 1959.
Some of Mr. Shannon's associations included Mercer County Funeral Directors (past president, secretary-treasurer and executive committee); National Funeral Directors Association; and Ohio Embalmers Association.
He was appointed by Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer in 1968 to the State Board of Funeral Directors and was elected board chairman in 1972. This made him the first African American and Mercer County resident to be a member of the Pennsylvania Board of Funeral Directors licensing board and member of the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association.
He served as interim manager of the Myron N. Howard Funeral Home in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2001, and was licensed in Pennsylvania and Ohio to sell insurance for Christian Benefit Association.
Mr. Shannon was a founder of the Shenango Valley Urban League; a member of the Mercer County Frontiers; past president of the Mercer County NAACP (life member); and was made an Elk on Sight by Hobson Reynolds, Grand Exalter Ruler of Elks and a funeral director.
He was a member of Twin City Elks Lodge 187 in Farrell; past Senior Worthy Patron, Miriam Chapter 47, Order of the Eastern Star PHA, Farrell; president of the Shenango Valley Services Inc.; board member of Parents of Murdered Children; and a member and former trustee of Greater Morris Chapel AME Church, Farrell
Mr. Shannon was Mason of the Year for Calumet Lodge 25 F&AM (PHA) of Farrell in 2005, where he also was past master and a 50-year member.
He was a member of Whitney M. Young Jr. Consistory 88 of Erie and was honored by the Hon. Robert E. Wyatt Sr., most worshipful grand master, in 2004 for long and faithful service as senior worthy patron to Miriam Chapter 47 OES PHA.
Mr. Shannon was elevated to the 33rd and last degree in Masonry in the Class of 2008 in Cincinnati and was named Grand Inspector General of the United Supreme Council A&ASR of Free Masonry PHA Northern Jurisdiction. He also was named to Penna Commanders of the Rite.
He received awards from Shenango Valley Urban League; Mercer County Funeral Directors Association, Pennsylvania State Board of Funeral Directors, Parents of Murdered Children, Calumet Lodge 25 F&AM (PHA), Everlife AIG Church of Youngstown, Southwest Gardens Economic Development Corp., Pennsylvania Council of Deliberation AASR-PHA Scottish Rite Mason of the Year 2006 and was recognized by the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association for 50 years of service to the profession (2007). His funeral home was also honored on its 50th anniversary by the PFDA and the NFDA.
He received a certificate of excellence for commendable service from Farrell Mayor Olive McKeithan.
Mr. Shannon was a former board member of First National Bank of Pennsylvania, Mercer County Community Action Agency, Boy Scouts of America, United Way, American Red Cross, Mercer County Blind Association, Crash Inc. (now known as MCAA), and the borough of Wheatland Planning Committee.
Mr. Shannon chaired the Julius L. McCoy Memorial Committee to honor the late Mr. McCoy with a monument in front of the E.J. McCluskey Gym, planting of Japanese cherry trees outside the gym and the naming of the drive, which runs from Roemer Boulevard around the school campus to Sharon-New Castle Road, Julius L. McCoy Drive.
Other survivors, in addition to his wife, include two children, Mavis Celeste Shannon-Odem (Timothy) of Farrell and Morgan L. Shannon (Sherri) of Charleston, S.C.; three grandchildren, Arthur H., Brittni L. and Theresa M.; three great-grandchildren, Arthur J., Noah A., Brielle M. and Isabelle; his godbrother, Kenneth Smith; and goddaughter, Funder (Norman) Blue; and a godson, Lawrence Crossley.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, Wilbert L. Shannon Jr., on June 10, 2010.

Wilbert L. Sr., 83, of Wheatland.
Calling hours: 4-7 p.m. Friday (3-16-18) at Valley Baptist Church in Farrell, with Masonic rites. Family will receive visitors at 1400 and 1520 Farrell Terrace, Farrell.
Funeral: 10 a.m. Saturday (3-17-18) at Greater Morris Chapel AME Church, 926 Darr Ave., Farrell, with his son, Morgan L. Shannon, as eulogist, and Bishop Alvin J. McCoy, pastor of New and Living Way Apostolic Church in Sharon, officiating.
Burial: Oakwood Cemetery, with full military honors.
All flowers should be delivered on Saturday only to Morris Chapel.
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Published on March 13, 2018
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