Robert E. Shaull
Robert E. Shaull

Bob Shaull and his extended family did something many modern families don't. They spent time together.

Whether on vacations to the beach, on fishing trips or cruises, and even while volunteering at a Brogue-area church, it was common to see the 70-year-old Shaull surrounded by his wife, two daughters, six grandchildren, three siblings and other family members, recalled daughter Sueann Workinger of Brogue.

"When we go on vacation there are 20 of us," she said. "We get together all the time."

And Shaull was like a magnet in the family, drawing in both the old and young, according to his daughter.

"He was full of hugs and love," Workinger said. "He truly loved life and he had fun with it. He lived it."

Shaull was just as likely to play a practical joke on his beloved wife, Kay (Stewart) Shaull, as he was to offer his help in putting a new roof on a friend's home, according to Workinger.

"He just made everything better because he was with us," she said. "It's just going to be a terrible big hole without him."

Fatal fall: Shaull, of Frosty Hill Road in Lower Chanceford Township, died Wednesday when he fell about 20 feet to the ground from a tree stand.

He was pronounced dead at York Hospital 8:51 p.m., according to the York County Coroner's Office. It's believed the accident happened sometime around 6:15 p.m., officials said.

State police said Shaull was hunting that evening, with permission, on a neighbor's property along Frosty Hill Road.

He was in the tree stand when one of the stand's two ratchet straps failed, police said. The straps were used to support the platform, police said.

When the ratchet strap failed the platform collapsed, not unlike a hinge collapses, troopers said. That caused Shaull to fall to the ground.

He was hunting deer with a bow and arrow, according to the coroner's office.

Avid outdoorsman: Shaull was an avid hunter and fisherman, Workinger said, and enjoyed his annual trips to a Clinton County hunting cabin where he and his buddies hunted turkey in the spring and fall.

He hunted deer and occasionally small game, and fished and crabbed on the Delaware Bay for nearly four decades, according to Workinger.

He still chopped his own firewood, too, she said.

And every day, Shaull sent text messages to all six of his grandchildren.

"Of course, he called it 'faxing,'" said. "He knew more of what my kids were doing than I did. He was such a father figure and really a good role model."

Active in church: He was active at Chanceford Presbyterian Church in Airville where, over the past 50 years, he served as a trustee, an elder, a member of the men's brotherhood and a Sunday-school teacher, his daughter said.

He retired from GTE/Verizon in 1996 after 36 years as a cable-splicer and troubleshooter, she said.

Born and raised in the Laurel, Chanceford Township, Shaull was a member of St. James Lutheran Church as a child.

Lately, he'd begun volunteering there for the St. James Clothes Closet because they needed help, according to Workinger.

"His mom had been one of those who started it, so he decided to help keep it open," she said.

He also was on Airville Fire Co.'s board of directors and was a lifetime member of the York County Fiddler's Association. He couldn't carry a tune, Workinger said, but enjoyed country and gospel music.

Whistler: Shaull was a happy-go-lucky person who made friends easily and whistled Christmas songs all year long, Workinger said.

He also was a devoted husband to his wife.

"She's been telling everyone he treated her better than the queen of England," Workinger said. "He truly loved her."

But Kate Shaull wasn't exempt from her husband's practical jokes.

Recently, Kate Shaull was in a shoe store trying on shoes when Bob Shaull sneakily took his wife's own unattended shoes, then hid behind a counter, Workinger recalled.

The couple celebrated 50 years of marriage in October 2011, and their daughters and other family members treated them to an Alaskan excursion.

"We went fishing in Alaska for halibut," Workinger said. "It was just a fabulous day and he was so happy. It just couldn't get any better -- the weather, the water, family and fish."

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.