Colonel Iverson Shavers-A legacy of leadership
The Garland Community, DeKalb, Bowie County and the rest of the world lost a great man last week with the passing of Colonel Iverson Shavers. He was 101.
This week, to honor and remember him, we re-print this story from our archives, written by his son Michael Shavers, on the occassion of the Colonel’s 100th birthday in 2017.
A retired Army Lt. Col. and leader in the African American community recently celebrated his 100th birthday with a party at his house just west of DeKalb. Iverson E. Shavers, born October 20, 1917 reflected on a century of life this past weekend as family and friends gathered to celebrate his milestone achievement.
“I’ve seen nearly every part of this world,” said Shavers. “England, Japan…and many corners of Europe, but I’ve always called DeKalb and Garland Community home.”
Shavers has lived in his house, about two miles west of DeKalb since he retired from active duty with the Army in the 1960’s. He raised cattle until his early 90s and volunteered with a number of community organizations including the Bowie County Agricultural and Stabilization Committee, DeKalb School District School Board and the Bowie County Housing Authority.
Born sixth of 11 children in a house just a mile from his current residence, Shavers was able to celebrate with two of his remaining three younger sisters Dr. Mattie Johnson, 97, of Nashville Tennessee, and Jenna Shavers, 90, also of DeKalb. Another sister, Mildred Downs, 94, of Detroit, Mi. was unable to attend the celebration. Several members of Shavers’ family came from long distances to celebrate with him, including nieces from Oakland, Calif., Northern Indiana, and Washington, D.C.
Shavers was married for 36 years to the late Pauline Cookman whom he met in 1947when both were on military assignments in Frankfurt, Germany helping with the recovery of Europe in the aftermath of World War II. His specialty was transportation and the unit he commanded ferried all manner of supplies all over Germany and other countries in western Europe, providing much needed food, fuel and other supplies as Europe struggled to get back on its feet after the end of the war. Pauline supported his career through assignments in France, Maryland, Virginia and while he was deployed during the Korean War. Iverson and Pauline eventually retired from the Army in 1962 with his last assignment teaching Army ROTC at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La.
Members of his church know “The Colonel” as a long-time parishioner at St Mary of the Cenacle Catholic Church in New Boston. Shavers served for many years on the Parish Council and many of his fellow parishioners attended Saturday’s celebration, with the group led by the current pastor, Monsignor Ron Diegel.
Shavers is known to friends and family by several names and that was evident as the assembled group serenaded him with the traditional “Happy Birthday” song. When guests reached the line, “happy birthday dear…” one heard, “Col Shavers,” “Iverson,” “Sha,” “Honey,” and several variations on those names. Most in his family call him “Honey.” which is a nickname he has had since childhood and stems from his easy-going disposition.
The birthday celebration was hosted by Shavers’ two children, Dr. Frances Shavers and her spouse, Mr. George Horn and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Michael Shavers and his spouse, Dr. Sandra Embler.