By Terry Miller
Former Army Air Corps Meteorologist, Harold Joseph Shellum was born Feb. 16, 1919 and yet he still swims twice a week at Monrovia’s YMCA. Perhaps this, and good genes, help Harold achieve this major milestone in life.
On Wednesday, Shellum was treated to a birthday party put on by his extended family at the YMCA where well wishes friends and one of his two daughters helped him revel in the fact that he’s achieved such notoriety.
Shellum, who was also a quarterback and line-backer when he played college football in the 1930’s only recently stopped driving, at his daughter’s insistence. He initially studied meteorology at the University of Chicago
However, Harold Shellum’s real love and passion has always been weather and during the World War II. His expertise was critical in guiding military aircraft away from harm’s way when it came to anything that could hamper a mission.
During World War II, communication issues were primitive by today’s standards and GPS was non-existent. Radar was the key, and 2nd Lieutenant Shellum was up to the task.
With Shellum’s expertise, humor and love for his fellow man, countless missions were successful as he guided men and women to safety from 1942-1946.
Shellum’s expertise was needed in another conflict in 1952-53, the Korean War and therefore was called back to service for eighteen months during that conflict.
Asked what his secret to longevity was, Shellum replied “quitting smoking is the best thing you can do as well as swim.”
During the war, GI’s were given free cigarettes and a case of beer a month. Shellum enjoyed both but soon realized he had to quit smoking.
Harold Shellum has two daughters. His wife of 63 years passed away in 2011.