Barn 03

Richard H. Shaner

January 10, 2021


Richard H. Shaner, 82, historian and folklorist, of Kutztown, passed away Sunday, January 10, 2021. He was the husband of Eleanor (Trout) Shaner. Born in Allentown the son of the late Harry E. and Esther (Hilbert) Shaner. A graduate of Kutztown State College in 1960, he received a position teaching history in the Allentown School District and was elected secretary of the Lehigh County Historical Society. In 1966 he joined the teaching staff of the Oley Valley School District where he was head of the history department and taught history, economics and sociology in high school. While living in the Oley valley he married Eleanor (Griesmer) Trout in 1970. He was a member of Salem U.C.C., Oley. In 1960 Mr. Shaner became a major exhibitor at the Kutztown Folk Festival and assisted Dr. Alfred Shoemaler, its founder, with educational demonstrations and folklife research. As a writer of folklife, Mr. Shaner became a published author and recognized authority on the Pennsylvania Dutch. He was a regular writer for Pennsylvania Folklife Quarterly and a contributor to the Historical Review magazine of the Berks County Historical Society. Urged by Dr. Shoemaker to showcase an American folklife festival for the coming bicentennial in the 1970’s Richard Shaner founded the annual Lobachsville Folk Festival in 1972 at the Keim Homestead with the assistance of his Oley Valley High School students. Proceeds of the Lobachsville event, which ran from 1972 to 1979, were used by Mr. Shaner to publish an American Folklife Journal. Mr. Shaner retired from teaching in 1995 after a stroke and resided with his wife and son Erin, in Kutztown, where he continued to be active with the community folklife festival and was advisor to Kutztown University on matters concerning the Pennsylvania Dutch Culture. He and his wife were active with the Preservation Trust of Berks County as well as the county historical society. In 2015 he co-authored “Oley Valley – the Federal Years” which was published by the Pennsylvania German Society. In addition to his wife Eleanor, he is survived by, son Erin and wife Jamie, sister Sylvia and husband Theodore Mayo, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Services are private. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to a historical organization. Edward J. Hildenbrand Funeral Home Inc., Kutztown entrusted with arrangements. 

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