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Carl Hieber ’63 was a close friend and

colleague of Shangraw’s. They worked

together at Merrill Lynch for 35 years.

“He was a great role model for his work

ethic, and maybe the hardest worker

I ever knew. At Bob’s funeral, I was

astounded when people started talking,

one after the other, about things he had

done for them and their causes. As close

as I was to him, I never had any idea

about many of the things he had done.”

Lycoming College, though, was

Shangraw’s passion, and he worked

tirelessly in myriad ways to make

it a better institution. “The kind of

relationship I had with Bob was that he

was more of a consigliere, since he had

officially retired from the board, and we

did conspire a few times,” said Trachte.

“He was a man who had at least five ideas

of how the College could be made better

every day of his life. It’s hard to choose

just one, but with student debt a rising

issue, Bob reached out to me and said

that we needed to do something about it.

We came up with the idea of the Trustee

Retention and Debt Reduction Fund,

which allows us to identify students

who are at the higher level of debt and

give them some relief from that with

additional scholarship money. That

really exemplifies how much Bob cared

for the students at Lycoming. With every

idea he had their best interests in mind.”

D. Stephen Martz ’64 recalls working

with Shangraw on the board of trustees.

“One of the important things to know

about Bob was that, besides vision

and philanthropy, he served as

a mentor in his leadership role

at the college to other trustees,

administration and faculty. He

actively led things that he wanted

to see happen. He didn’t just talk

about it and hand it off; he really

got involved and followed through.”

“My father had a big heart and

was a great man,” said Nancy

DeSanto ’93, who attended

Lycoming along with her three

siblings. “Our family has wonderful

friends and memories purely because

of my father having so much success

— and fun — working with the great

people at Lycoming.”

Shangraw was deeply devoted to his

family. He had four children with his

first wife, Mary, who died of cancer in

1988 leaving him a single father. Two

years later Shangraw met Charlene,

who was working at a local club. “He

was always a gentleman, and a very, very

nice person. She confessed, “The first

time he asked me out it went right over

my head! He asked me what night I was

off, and I said I didn’t have any nights off.

But he didn’t give up and asked me again

the next week. We went out to dinner and

began a wonderful relationship that lasted

25 years.” The couple married in 1992.

“He was bigger than life. He had a real

presence. When Bob walked into a room

you knew he was there.”

Together, Bob and Charlene endured two

tragedies: the deaths of Bob’s son, Doug,

in 2008, and of Charlene’s son, Alan, soon

after that. “It was of course difficult,” said

Charlene, “but Bob worked very hard with

both Doug’s wife and Alan’s wife. He always

took good care of them.”

Charlene said Bob once told her that the

impetus for his life’s work as a philanthropist

came from a significant brush with mortality

in 1979: “He made a commitment that if he

lived through the surgery he would spend

half his time and give half of what he had to

charities. He made it through, and kept that

promise going right until the end.”

“Bob always felt he got more back than he

gave. Every chance he got he told people that,

and he really meant it,” said Sides. “We will

never replace him.”

-

Contributed by Patrick Marty

GIRARDI REMEMBERS

SHANGRAW’S ASSISTANCE

Frank Girardi is quick to point out

that much of the recognition that has

come his way since he was selected

for induction into the College Football

Hall of Fame in January is due to the

care and hard work of many people.

He talks of the program as a family,

from the players to the assistant

coaches to the fans and supporters.

It was the support system that

made being a Warrior different, and

during the program’s rise on the

national radar in the 1990s, one of

those biggest pillars of support

was the college’s chair of the

board of trustees, Bob Shangraw.

“When I think of Bob, the

first two things to come to

mind are his generosity and

how he really was involved and

extremely interested in Lycoming

athletics,” Girardi said. “There’s

no question in my mind that he

was the driving force behind the

building of the new stadium.

He had a vision and he kept

after it.”

Opened in 1998, the

Shangraw Athletic Complex

was a substantial upgrade

for all of Lycoming’s athletic

teams, providing a significant

increase in locker room space

for all of the outdoor teams,

an updated press box and

handicapped access. It was

a $1.5 million project that

came as a labor of love for

Shangraw, whose interest

in the Warriors was well

known.

“He’d be up at practice

quite a bit,” Girardi said.

“You could just see the

pride he had when he

walked through the locker

room or coaches’ room.

It was sincere.”

Left to right: Daniel G. Fultz ’57 ’01H looks

on while Douthat presents Shangraw with an

honorary doctor of laws degree in 2004.

25

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F E AT U R E