Monday, November 26, 2012

R. B. Shiflet Local Teacher and Pastor Dies

R. B. Shiflet
May 6, 1919 - November 21, 2012

A highly revered and much loved resident of Mineral Wells passed away on the day before Thanksgiving. R. B. Shiflet was a teacher and administrator for Mineral Wells schools from 1953 until 1981. He touched the lives of many of us attending school in the old High School building that we focus on here in the pages of this blog. In 1958 he was the Assistant Principal and Counselor and was often seen directing traffic in this old building! He was so kind and genuinely cared about the future of the kids with whom he came in contact.

1958 Mineral Wells
Junior High School

Lynda Nell Lee Fox remembers Mr. Shiflet in her words written for a celebratory occasion. He was her history teacher. Her comments about Mr. Shiflet and Lamar bear repeating here.

Memories of Lamar Elementary
by Lynda Lee Fox
As part of the student body which attended Lamar Elementary School 1955 - 1956,  the first year it opened, I had mixed emotions. It was part of my sixth grade year and I had to leave many friends at Travis Elementary whom I had known in my early grade school years. However, my classmates and I soon accepted our new surroundings and enjoyed the new school.
I do have a few memories of that year, including having Mr. Shiflet as my history teacher, while my home room teacher, Mrs. Rainwater, taught art to the other class. I also remember that girls were not allowed to wear jeans to class, and after much discussion we were allowed to wear shorts under our dresses so we could play on the monkey bars. That year was also the only time I remember going to school on a Saturday. There were so many snow days that year that we had to go half a day one Saturday to satisfy funding requirements. It seemed like some sort of special day and we all thought it was one of the best school days all year!
The following year, as seventh graders, we were reunited in junior high school with other friends we had missed for a year. Overall, our year at Lamar Elementary was a time of growing up, learning the value of friendships and learning to accept change in our lives. We were lucky to have such excellent teachers to guide us in that important developmental time in our lives.
As Mr. Shiflet was one of those teachers who guided his students during that important time in their lives at Lamar, so he was an important part of their lives as Counselor and Assistant Principal as they continued in Junior High.

He helped instruct many young people as a teacher and also as a pastor. He became the founding pastor of Eleventh Avenue Church in Mineral Wells in 1950 when he moved to Mineral Wells with his young wife, Lorena Goyne whom he met and married in Fort Worth in 1944. Mr. Shiflet was a veteran of the U.S. Army. Serving in the Philippines in World War II, he was in the Philippines when that country was liberated. I imagine even there, he was a teacher of the gospel as he witnessed to those around him.

He preached his last sermon in March 2010. On the 60th Anniversary of Eleventh Avenue Church he stood in the pulpit and spoke to the congregation about an "Attitude of Gratitude." After his "three points" he told a story about a young nine-year-old who was a 3rd grader at Lamar Elementary when he was principal there.

After being called together by Mr. Shiflet with other bus riders one day, this boy and others thought they might really be in some kind of trouble. Mr. Shiflet quickly assured them they were not; however, he had heard that some high school boys had been telling dirty jokes at the bus stop in the mornings where this particular group of kids waited for the bus. Mr. Shiflet told them even though they were not in trouble, if he ever heard of one of them telling dirty jokes, they would be in trouble with him.

This nine-year-old raised his hand, and told the group, "Mr. Shiflet, I haven't told a dirty joke since I was baptized." He went on to say, "I will admit that I have listened to some and even laughed at one, because I thought it was funny." This young boy had had a change in attitude and had an attitude of gratitude.

Mr. Shiflet was loved and will be missed!

You can find R.B. Shiflet's sermons in the Eleventh Avenue Church archives online.

SHIFLET, R.B., obituary, Mineral Wells Index, accessed 11-26-2012

Eleventh Avenue Church 2010 Sermon Audio, accessed 11-26-2012

Memories of Lamar Elementary, Lynda Lee Fox, Valedictorian Mineral Wells High School Class of 1962.

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