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Obituary Stories

Police chief was 'icon' in Mt. Pleasant

Jeff Himler
| Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

When Russ Shumar walked his beat as a police officer in Mt. Pleasant Borough, people of all ages were happy to see him.

“He was well-respected in the community,” longtime Mt. Pleasant Mayor Jerry Lucia said. “He was just an all-around good person, very friendly. He had friends on every street in this town.”

Mr. Shumar developed a mutual respect with younger residents. “If kids saw vandalism in the park, they'd come to Russ and tell him,” Lucia said.

Mr. Shumar's family agrees.

“He did really care about the youth and wanted to have a positive impact on them,” niece Linda Gerhart said.

“He seemed to work pretty good with them,” his wife, Sara, said. “If they would get in trouble, he would take them home to their parents.”

Russell O. Shumar, 87, of Mt. Pleasant died Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, at the Harmon House in Mt. Pleasant after a lengthy illness. Born in Mt. Pleasant on March 22, 1930, he was the son of the late Russell Shumar Sr. and Helen Shumar.

A 1948 graduate of Ramsay High School and a member of Mt. Pleasant Church of God, he served as an electrician in the Navy during the Korean War. He was a member of American Legion Post 446 in Mt. Pleasant.

He attended the police academy at St. Joseph Center in Greensburg and served for four decades on the Mt. Pleasant police force, including a stint as chief.

Mr. Shumar was known for his impeccable appearance and constant smile.

“He was an icon for a police officer,” Lucia said. “His shoes were the shiniest shoes of any police officer in the United States. His personal cars were the cleanest cars, and he took care of his police cars the same way.”

When new officers joined the force, they would ride with Mr. Shumar to benefit from his experience and example. “He would take them under his wing and really work with them,” Lucia said.

The hard-working officer, when not on duty, enjoyed sports. Gerhart recalled that he played football in high school and participated in basketball and boxing while he was in the service.

Later, as a football fan, he frequently attended games of the Mt. Pleasant Vikings and of local youth teams while following the Steelers on television.

He enjoyed parades the town had on holidays. “If he wasn't working, he would watch the parade,” his wife said.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Shumar is survived by sisters Dorothy Bell and Patricia Buschik of Greensburg.

A funeral service and interment will be private. Arrangements are under the direction of Saloom-Rega Funeral Service in Mt. Pleasant.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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