Bob Ed Shambarger, our Dad, died on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, while visiting at Springdale. He was born Jan. 7, 1936, at Mulberry, lived around the world while in the service and settled at Alma when he got to come home to Crawford County. He was a lifelong Southern Baptist and a member of First Baptist Church at Alma.
Mom and Dad married in 1958 and began their family, and Dad began the first of his three careers, in the United States Army. He went to Vietnam twice, and he came home, and he carried the memories of that time throughout his life. Then he was in the Cold War, instructing younger Armor officers in the strategies to succeed in a ground war that fortunately never came. I believe being prepared for conflict is a big part of avoiding it, and I believe Dad was as proud of helping keep the peace as anything else he ever did.
After Dad retired as a lieutenant colonel and moved our family back home, he commenced his second career as a history teacher in the Fort Smith schools. Dad loved history from the start, it was his college major. He wanted to study it himself to understand not only what happened to his family and his country, but why, and he wanted to be able to explain it, to be able to tell a story. I think that he considered teaching almost as a hobby, not a casual thing but something he could enjoy getting to refine and repeat till he could pass an idea to another person whole and clear, so they understood it as he did. Teaching suited his nature.
Dad’s third career, that he never retired from, was leading our family. He set us the example of how to treat others; he shared his interests in travel and reading and crafts and writing and, yes, history, till we loved them as well; he showed us that success is made day by day, that a setback is not an end, that we need always to press on. And he griped too, he thought us all senseless at times, but still he supported us so we could take our own path, or change if we had to, whether as children or adults, because we always knew we could go back. Dad was home. At the end of his life, Dad’s last example was his acceptance of his own end. He was at peace, and prepared to go.
Dad followed our Mom, Jonnie Shambarger, who passed in 2012. He is survived by a daughter, Grace Spezia of Plattsburg, Mo.; a son, Doug Shambarger of Springdale; and his granddaughter, Jessie Shambarger of Fort Smith.
Our Dad requested that there be no service, and reluctantly we followed his wishes. We do know, and he did as well from all your visits and calls lately, that Dad was well thought of among his friends and his family. You have told us how our Dad was friendly and generous and liked to get to laugh, and it has been a comfort for us to hear now how you want to remember him. Dad was cremated last week, and the immediate family will inter him shortly at the Mulberry cemetery.
Bob Shambarger was a soldier, and a teacher, and a storyteller, and a husband, and a father. You did well, Dad, and I am grateful to have gotten to know you.