The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 21, 2014

Rotarians honor John Shipman

SUNBURY — Few people who live and work in Sunbury would dispute the notion that local businessman John K. Shipman is deserving of the Rotary Club’s 59th Annual Citizen of the Year award.

After all, Shipman has always been “dedicated to giving back to this community in which he grew up,” said his brother, Bill, who along with more than 100 people at the Hotel Edison on Thursday night  celebrated John Shipman’s years of service and dedication to Sunbury.

“Our family was relatively small, mother, father and the two brothers,” Bill Shipman said. “Ever since I can remember, John believed that it was honorable to serve others. And he enjoyed it.”

John Shipman, a city councilman, and his wife, Bonnie, married for nearly 50 years, both said that service to community is part of the fabric of his personality.

“It’s who he is,” she said.

Standing next to his wife, John interjected, “I think that giving back is becoming less and less frequent these days. It seems like people are paying more attention to their families rather than public service, and I can understand that. But somebody has to do public service.”

State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-108 of Sunbury, has known Shipman for more than 20 years, and called him her “go-to guy” whenever she wants to get things done.

“John is one of those people who people take for granted because he is always there, he is always in the background even as he makes things happen,” she said. “When it comes to getting credit for doing something, you’ll notice John shrinking in the background. He doesn’t want any credit for what he does; he is a very humble person, but that’s a part of his charm. For as long as I’ve known him, he’s always been very devoted to the people in this city.”

And that’s why the Rotarian’s selected him for this year’s honor, explained Victoria Rosancrans, president of the Sunbury Rotary Club. “Yeah, we finally got him,” she said, smiling. “When our committee sat down to nominate this year’s Citizen of the Year, and John’s name was mentioned, it was a slam dunk unanimous decision. As a past Rotarian, he always exemplifies what a Rotarian should be.”

Shipman’s dedication to the city is amazing, Rosancrans said. “As a Rotarian, I am glad to be standing beside him tonight. He loves this city. He looks out for us and is dedicated to us. Isn’t that what it’s all about?”

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