MECHANICSBURG – Those who attended the 2014 Mechanicsburg Bicentennial Summer Celebration event will recognize one of its featured guests when he returns this week.
Bruce Shawver portrays US President Abraham Lincoln and will visit students at Dohron Wilson Elementary School on Sept. 11.
Shawver was born in Watsonville, California. He resided there until he entered Bible College in Eugene, Oregon. After graduating from Northwest Christian College, he began full-time ministry in a small church in Bellfountain, Oregon. It was while he was in Bellfountain that he grew his beard, not even imagining the striking resemblance he bore to Abraham Lincoln. While seeing Shawver walking on a sidewalk in Corvallis, Oregon, a small boy said, “Mommy, there’s Abraham Lincoln!” He first began doing appearances as the 16th president during the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. His first top hat was made of construction paper.
He and his wife, Carol, ministered at the church for 11 years. They moved to Tennessee along with their daughter, Kara, in 1983. Bruce was hired at Love Chapel Christian Church in Erwin, Tennessee and remained as their pastor for 24 years. The family now lives in Clarksville, Tennessee and includes Bruce, Carol, Kara and her husband, Rob and their daughter, Haley. Rob is a helicopter pilot and is currently stationed in Afghanistan. Bruce (Abe) has made many appearances at schools, churches, various civic organizations and has participated in many parades.
For a number of years he came to Mechanicsburg to join in the By-Gone Days celebration. Bruce and Carol – who portrays Mrs. Lincoln – will visit the local area Sept. 11-13. The year 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Lincoln. “We feel at home here,” Bruce said in 2014 during a visit during Mechanicsburg’s Bicentennial Summer Celebration event. After the Shawvers visit students at Dohron Wilson Elementary on Sept. 11, they will take part in a 9-11 tribute program at the Clifton Opera House at 7:30 p.m. in Greene County.
On Saturday they will visit the Lincoln Funeral Train marker at the Woodstock Cemetery at 11 a.m. At 2 p.m. they will be part of the South Vienna Corn Festival parade at 2 p.m. and will greet guests afterward. Late Saturday afternoon they will appear at the Lincoln Funeral Train replica being displayed in downtown Troy with a Civil War encampment and large statue of Lincoln at the Miami County Courthouse. On Sunday they will be part of the 11 a.m. service with Bruce speaking at the Mechanicsburg Freewill Baptist Church corner of Oakland and Central streets. The Shawvers hope to see old friends who got to know them during the former By-Gone Days during their visit.