ENGLEWOOD — Northmont’s first principal, Richard Shell, 94, died May 16 at Cypress Pointe Health Campus in Englewood after a brief illness.
A graveside service will be held 10 a.m., Saturday, June 10 at Fairview Cemetery 750 Union Road, Englewood. A celebration of life reception will follow at the Northmont Middle School Gym, 4810 National Rd., Clayton, at 11:30 a.m.
A. Brown & Sons Nursery have volunteered to donate, deliver, plant and nurture an 8-foot tall oak tree in his honor at an appropriate location (site to be determined) along with a memorial plaque.
A light lunch will be served at Northmont Middle School at 11 a.m. Saturday where a display of memorabilia from Shell’s life will be available for viewing.
Welcoming remarks will be delivered by retired Northmont Superintendent Gale T. Mabry as well Gary L. Weeks, Esq., NHS Class of 1963.
The ceremony will also include:
• Words from the Family of Richard L. Shell
• Reading of written remarks of Ms. Sally Murphy, teaching colleague
• Words from Emerson Keck, NHS Class of 1964
“Getting to Know Mr. Shell, or What is Superman Doing in that White Dress Shirt?”
• Words from his former students (open podium)
• Words from friends of Richard L. Shell (open podium)
• Words from Patti Blouch, NHS Class of 1976
• Words from Nancee Desch, his “across the street neighbor”
• Words from Beth Fuller, NHS Class of 1965, President, NHS Alumni Association
• Words from other colleagues of Richard L. Shell (open podium)
• Words from Jean Plunkett, Cousin of Richard L. Shell
• Closing Remarks – Final Respects
Richard L. Shell was born on October 14, 1922 in New Salem, OH. New Salem is a wide spot in the
Road in Fairfield County. His father, Rolland was an Industrial Arts teacher and a coach at Millersport School which was in a nearby small town surrounded by rural farms. His mother was a housewife. A year later his brother Paul was born. Seven months later his mother passed away. His father later remarried and moved to Newark, OH. Two more siblings joined the family – a step-sister: Ruth, and a step-brother Ted.
Dick attended Newark schools all 12 years. He played football for Newark High School. His team was the first to win the Central Ohio League football Championship for Newark in 1940. This team outscored seven conference foes 158-28.
He met the love of his life – Miss Helen Shide – who he later affectionately referred to as “Gert” at Newark High School. He would ride his bike to another part of town to see her. So biking started as a necessity and later became one of his passions. The Shells were married for 72 years.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in October of 1942 and was called to duty in July of 1943. He served in both the Korean War and World War II.
He attended Dennison University and Wittenberg University where he also played football. He was also a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He received his B.S. in Education in 1948 from Wittenberg University.
Shell started his career in Amity Schools in Knox County in 1948 as a social science teacher and basketball coach for 2 years and then became the superintendent for 2 years. In 1954 he moved to Mr. Vernon area to become the Executive Head of the Hartford Local Schools District in Croton, OH. He remained there until 1959.
In addition to running a school system he did his Masters work at The Ohio State University and received his MA in 1958. He did additional graduate work at: UD, Miami and Ohio University.
He applied for the Principal’s job at the newly consolidated Northmont High School in1959. He was one of 53 candidates applying. He became one of the top 10 applicants. The top 10 were then screened by interviews, written exams, credential studies and other evaluation criteria. He assumed the job on Aug 1, 1959 and he and Helen moved to Diamond Mill Road.
He later became acting Superintendent of Northmont Schools when Richard Van Atta retired. In 1973 he was appointed Assistant Superintendent and Purchasing Agent, responsible for major areas of transportation, building and grounds, purchasing and assisting in the areas of administration. He retired in 1979. He also served on the Montgomery County Board of Education and the Montgomery County Joint Vocational School Board. He was one of the first recipients of the Northmont Wall of Recognition. He served 31 years in education.
He was an avid cyclist and logged thousands of miles on his bicycle over the years. He even participated in the Senior Olympics and has the medals to show for it. He accumulated many more honors over the years but you never heard this humble giant talk about his honors. What you did hear him talk about was all about his thousands of students, colleagues, family, and friends he had met and worked with throughout his life. And of course, OSU football.