SHELBY -- People who touch your heart while growing up always leave an unforgettable memory.
Phil Pearson is a teacher, resident, helper (in so many ways) is only part of the story of his career at Shelby High School and the community of Shelby. Pearson arrived at Shelby High School in 1966 and taught English and humanities for 46 years. He also served as Academic Challenge advisor for 41 years, junior class advisor for two years and senior class advisor for 30 years.
In addition, he served as football equipment manager for 41 years, and marked up over 48 seasons as basketball clock operator and pole vault judge. He also served as timer at the State Girls Basketball Tournament in 1990.
To add to the story of building memories for his students some of his former students and community residents were ready and willing to share bits and pieces of his generosity.
“Very few people have impacted a larger number of students and adults than Phil Pearson,” says a colleague who also was one of Pearson’s former students. “Phil is a very giving person who always puts the needs of others ahead of himself.
"His students will remember him for the blue book, his tests, his information from his travels and the research paper they had to write.
"But they also appreciate how he prepared them for college success.”
Pearson graduated from Westerville High School in 1962. He then earned a bachelor’s degree from Otterbein College and a master’s from Bowling Green in 1981. He also studied at Ashland Theological Seminary, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Ohio State University and Ohio Wesleyan University.
He began his career as a 9th grade teacher at Shelby Junior High School in 1966, and in 1971 was transferred to Shelby High School to teach all grades in English and humanities. In addition to his teaching in Shelby, Pearson led many student and adult groups in tours to almost 50 countries on nearly every continent so that others could enjoy the rest of the world as he does.
One parent, who was one of the chaperones to Europe, remembers he was allowed to play an organ in one of the cathedrals they visited while in Europe. It was a great honor for him.
He is a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and has served as an organist at First Presbyterian Church, First United Church of Christ, St. Mark’s and Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church. He taught Sunday School at First Presbyterian and served as youth director at First United Methodist for one year. He has served as president of the Shelby Council of Churches for 41 years, overseeing the local Meals-on-Wheels program and Crop Walks, Blanket Sundays, Messiah presentations and worship services at the two care centers in Shelby.
He was one of the early nominees inducted into the Shelby High School Hall of Distinction in honor of all he has done for the students and community.
Pearson is a member of the American Guild of Organists, served as treasurer, registrar and newsletter editor for the local chapter. He also served on the local American Cancer Society Board for 25 years and on the Advisory Board for Shelby Home and Public Health.
Pearson has received the Sertoma Service to Mankind Award, the Jess Rath Christian Volunteer Service Award, the Charles Williams 6th Man Award, the Northwest Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award, and is Honorary Chapter Farmer in the Shelby FFA.
Pearson has touched many hearts in his community with his kindness, support and love.
“He was my teacher in high school, he taught at SHS while I have been principal, he played the organ at my wedding and has always been there when I needed something,” Shelby High School Principal, John Gies said.
Many students give the same comments stating he prepared them for college. Numerous past students have requested Phil to play the organ for their weddings and several Shelby families have asked him to play for family member funerals. He has always been there to help anyone who requested his help.
Pearson lives in Shelby. He currently resides at Crestwood Care Center, 225 West Main Street.
COVID-19 has been difficult for Phil. He enjoys visits and cards, but no visiting has been has taken its toll on all care centers. At one time Crestwood residents dubbed Phil as “The social director of Crestwood.”
He loves people and people love him!