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Robert W. Shaner

SOUTH CAROLINA — Robert W. Shaner died September 6, 2008 at his home in Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, after a long struggle with carcinoid cancer. He died, as he lived, surrounded by the love of family and friends.

Bob was born on July 22, 1948 in St. Louis, Missouri to Virgil and Rebecca Shaner. He spent his childhood in Farmington, Missouri. In May of 1970 he graduated from Central Methodist (College) University in Fayette, Missouri, with a degree in chemistry. A week later, on May 31, he married his college sweetheart, Louann Thogmorton. Two weeks later he began a career in telecommunications that spanned more than 32 years. Beginning as a Chief Switchman for Southwestern Bell Telephone in East St. Louis, Illinois, he advanced rapidly within the phone company in Illinois and Missouri. He was one of the pioneers of wireless communications which took him from St. Louis, to Chicago, Dallas, Paris, San Francisco, and ultimately Atlanta where he was part of the executive leadership that created Cingular Wireless. He retired from Cingular in January 2003, shortly before the formation of the current AT&T. Following his retirement, Bob served on several corporate boards and was President of the Board of Curators at Central Methodist University.

Bob was a multi-dimensional man who put family and friends first. Music was always a part of his life, whether vocal or instrumental. He and Louann, his wife of 38 years, met while singing. He was equally at home on a baseball field or on the golf course. He was an outdoorsman who loved fishing, hunting and camping. He proudly attributed many of his leadership skills to having been an Eagle Scout. His warmth, sense of humor, integrity, compassion and love of life enriched many.

Bob is survived by his wife, Louann, of Hilton Head, daughter and son-in-law, Jami and Jim Mataya, of Chicago and son and daughter-in-law, Rob and Thowaiba Shaner, of Brooklyn, New York. Also considered as family are Peter and Catarina Lovgren of Uppsala, Sweden and Cedric and Julie Tolliver of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In Farmington, Missouri, he is survived by his mother, Rebecca Shaner, and brother and family, Dr. Jim Shaner, Carla, James and Michelle, Jarred and Rebecca. In Fayette, Missouri, he is survived by  his parents-in-law, Jim and Helen Thogmorton and sister-in-law, Cathy Thogmorton.

Services will be in Farmington, Missouri with visitation at the Cozean Memorial Chapel, on Thursday, September 11, from 5-9 p.m. The funeral will be held on Friday, September 12, at the Memorial United Methodist Church, in Farmington, at 1 p.m. His ashes will be scattered in the waters off Hilton Head where he knew true freedom. A public celebration of his life will be held at the Long Cove Clubhouse within the next few weeks.

Donations may be made to the Boys and Girls Club of America ( or 1-404-487-5700) and Central Methodist University ( or 1-877-CMU-1854 ext.56232 or 411 Central Methodist Square in Fayette, MO 65248.

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