John A. Shakely

John Albert Shakely (Jan. 26, 1927- Dec. 1, 2001) was born in Evans City, Pa., and was the youngest child of Clarence E. and Alene Dombart Shakely. He was a veteran of World War II and the dear husband of Marion Bruce Shakely.

John A. ShakelyJohn earned a pilot’s license at age 17 and promptly left Butler High School, Butler, Pa., to enlist in the Army Air Corps. At the war’s end, he attended the Pennsylvania State College (now University), graduating in 1950 with a degree in geology.

He worked as a petroleum geologist for Formation Logging Service in California for several years, until he had saved sufficient funds to fulfill a boyhood dream, a Pacific adventure. He bought a boat and an instruction manual, and set out on the Chesapeake Bay where he taught himself to sail. He enlisted a fraternity brother and landlubber, Paul Linvill of Linvilla Orchards, Media, Pa., as first mate.

Together, they sailed down the east coast, transited the Panama Canal, and entered the Pacific on a 30-foot ketch that had no engine or radio. After visiting many exotic ports, they experienced shipwreck on a coral reed off Moorea in the Society Islands. After a trip by freighter to Australia, John resumed his geological work in South America, the Philippines, and Turkey.

By 1960, John wanted to raise his children in the United States, and decided to change careers. He began graduate studies in history at Temple University, concentrating on China and the Middle East. He began teaching at Central Bucks High School in 1962 and retired in 1990.

He then began his memoirs, dedicating them to his children so they could learn about his life before they knew him. He completed two books: “Skoal” relates his adventures in the Pacific; “Wildcatting” recounts his experiences as a geologist.

John was a skilled cabinet maker and a collector of rare books about the age of sail. He was a member of Sigma Phi Alpha fraternity, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the Naval Institute, and was a charter member of the Cousteau Society.


A paver stone on the Nittany Valley Heritage Walk commemorates John’s time as a Penn State student.

Surviving John, besides his wife, Marion, are two sons, William H. and Joseph M. Shakely, of Warminster; daughters Marion P. Wedo of Harleysville, Alison A. Shakely and her husband, Matthew Nahrgang, of East Norriton, and Samantha C. Shakely and her husband, Robert A. Aboud, of Upper Gwynedd; grandchildren Phillip, Monica, and Andrea Wedo, Tom Shakely, and Christopher, Sarah, and Julia Nahrgang; a brother, Bruce L. Shakely and his wife, Martha, of Beaver, Pa.; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Friends are invited to a Mass to commemorate John’s life, 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 at Nativity of Our Lord, Warminster, Pa. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to Archbishop Wood Catholic High School, 655 York Road, Warminster, Pa., 18974 are requested, to fund a scholarship award in his memory.

Marion B. Shakely

Marion Bruce Shakely (May 8, 1928-September 26, 2015) of Warminster died peacefully in the evening on Saturday, September 26, 2015, at Doylestown Hospital. She was in her 88th year. Surrounding Marion were all her children, other members of her family, and a close friend, all praying, crying, laughing, and sharing memories.

MBSBorn in Point Breeze, South Philadelphia, Marion was the only child of Philip A. and Marion Bruce (nee Roth). In November of 1929, as the small family prepared to move to one of the first rowhomes in Philadelphia’s Mayfair section (then largely still semi-wild open space), tragedy struck when Philip, a member of the Philadelphia Police Department, was killed in the line of duty. The widow, her 18-month-old child, and other family members fulfilled Philip’s dream and completed the move. Mother Marion, “Nana” to her grandchildren, resided in the home until the mid-1970s; the Bruces were one of the earliest families in Saint Bernard parish in Mayfair.

On a blind date (when she was in college) Marion met her husband-to-be, John A. “Tioni” Shakely. In 1964, Marion and John moved their small family into a brand-new home in the Hartsville Park section of Warminster Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The Shakelys became members of Nativity of Our Lord parish, Warminster, in that year. Marion traveled extensively, including through the American West and Caribbean as well as to England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, and Greece. She was committed to Saint John Paul the Great and to the Culture of Life.

Marion worked for the old Snellenburg’s and Strawbridge & Clothier department stores, as a technical copyeditor for electronics manufacturer Philco Corporation, and for First Pennsylvania Bank, all in Philadelphia; but she regarded her true and noble vocation to be as a loving wife and loving mother.

Marion was proud to be a graduate of Saint Bernard School (in 1942); Mount Saint Joseph Academy, where she studied on scholarship at the original Chestnut Hill campus (1946), and the University of Pennsylvania (1950). At Penn, where she also studied on scholarship, she was a Kappa Delta sorority sister while studying political science and journalism.

Surviving Marion are her daughters Marion Wedo, Alison Nahrgang (spouse, Matthew), and Samantha Aboud (Robert); sons William and Joseph Shakely; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Marion’s loved and loving husband, John, long a teacher at Central Bucks High School West, and employee in Pennsylvania’s “State Store” system, preceded her in death in 2001.

Celebration of Marion’s funeral Mass will begin at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, October 3 at Nativity of Our Lord Church, 585 West Street Road, Warminster, PA 18974. There will be no viewing, per her wishes. Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham Township will be her place of earthly rest.

The Shakely family warmly thanks the staff of Doylestown Hospital for the professional and compassionate care provided to Marion.

Please consider donating, in lieu of flowers, to a charity performing corporal works of mercy in the name of our Lord. The Holy Family Home, administered by the Little Sisters of the Poor, was one of many charities that Marion supported. She also created the John & Marion Shakely Charitable Fund with the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia to provide scholarship assistance to students at Archbishop Wood High School.

Requiescat in pace.