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Longtime Greensburg pediatrician dies at 92

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Dr. William Shope took his then 12-year-old son, Robert, along on a few visits to the emergency room where he was working.

“I was curious … thought I might want to go into medicine,” said Robert Shope of Greensburg. “I decided to go into banking instead.”

William Benner Shope, a pediatrician for more than three decades in the Greensburg area, died Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, of complications of Alz­heimer’s disease. He was 92.

He was born in Greensburg on March 30, 1923, the son of the late James Paul and Emma Wilson Shope. He graduated from Greensburg High School and received his bachelor’s degree from Juniata College in Huntingdon and his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

“He was a very caring doctor,” his son said. “He cared about his patients.”

Dr. Shope served in the Korean War from October 1950 until June 1951. As a naval officer on loan to the 8th Army, he was a triage physician on the front lines.

“War was gruesome. It was hard when soldiers came back wounded,” Dr. Shope once told his son. “We saved some, lost some.”

Dr. Shope and other physicians of his era often made house calls at all hours.

“He had his black bag by the door. He’d get up in the middle of the night and go tend to a sick baby,” said his son Edward Kimmel of Greensburg. “Sometimes he’d come home with apples or tomatoes as payment.”

Dr. Shope played football in high school and college and loved to hunt, his sons said.

The family of five boys and two girls lived on a 56-acre farm outside Greensburg, where they often played sports and did other activities.

“We had a basketball team and two cheerleaders,” Robert Shope said.

A former member of First United Methodist Church of Greensburg, Dr. Shope was the Greensburg Salem school physician from 1955 until 1988 and was a member of the Greensburg VFW. In his later years, he attended weekly breakfasts with the RODEO, or Retired Old Doctors Eating Out, and the Tuesday morning group at St. Mathias Lutheran Church.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Amy Vaughan.

He is survived by five sons, Edward H. Kimmel and his wife, Karen; James Paul Shope; William B. Shope; and Robert D. Shope and his wife, Diane, all of Greensburg; and Timothy M. Kimmel and his wife, Kim, of Washington, Pa.; a daughter, Rebecca J. Kimmel of Greensburg; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. Private funeral services will be held under the direction of the Coshey-Nicholson Funeral Home Inc., Greensburg.

Memorial donations may be made to a children’s charity of one’s choice.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or [email protected].

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