Maurice A. died. Shannon, 82, of Philadelphia, a longtime mathematics teacher in the Philadelphia School District, former city police officer, and community development advocate, died Saturday, Oct. 28, of complications from a stroke at his daughter’s home in Bowie, Maryland. .
Mr. Shannon taught students at the Youth Study Center of Philadelphia from 1961 to 1975 and then students at Daniel Boone, West Philadelphia and Olney high schools; John Paul Jones Junior High School; and other schools in Philadelphia from 1981 until his retirement in 2005. Naturally compassionate and empathetic, he enjoyed interacting with youth, other teachers, school staff, and parents.
He also had a playful sense of humor, and his daughter Kelly said he would jokingly ask her, his son Michael and their young friends who had math problems before letting them out to play. “So our friends stopped coming,” she said with a laugh.
He took his students on field trips to museums and vocational schools, and stressed that planning for the future was just as important as mastering their school lessons. He tutored students who needed extra help, wrote letters of recommendation for those looking for references, and gave good advice when asked.
His family said in their tribute to him: “He believed in the power of education to change lives and was a guiding light for his students.” “He made even the most complex mathematics topics accessible and engaging.”
He became a police officer in Philadelphia after high school and attended Cheyney State College, now Cheyney University, during the day while working night shifts with the police department from 1958 to 1961. He graduated from Cheyney with a bachelor’s degree in 1965, and later taught urban areas. Planning at the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Shannon also worked in the 1970s as Assistant Director of the Community Development Program at Temple University. In 1968, he and other members of the Liberty Place Citizens Association objected to a controversial housing plan the city was developing for the East Poplar neighborhood.
Using federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city continued building Fairmont Manor, a sprawling apartment complex for low-income renters, instead of the promised mix of single-family homes and apartments. Neighbors file suitMaurice Shannon et al. v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentIn 1969, they won the case on appeal in 1970.
“We didn’t have anything against the people who lived there,” Mr. Shannon told The Inquirer in 1975. “Fairmont Manor is just a cheap, tacky, bad job that looks like a project.” In 1977, as a result of the lawsuit, 42 new single-family townhomes were built in East Poplar, and “this should have been done years ago,” Mr. Shannon told The Inquirer at a ribbon-cutting ceremony that July.
Throughout the conflict, Mr. Shannon gave interviews on television and elsewhere as a community engagement spokesman. “It’s a good thing the redevelopment is happening,” he told The Inquirer in 1975. “But the community will never be what it could have been.”
Maurice Alan Shannon was born on April 21, 1941 in Philadelphia. He grew up in South Philadelphia and West Philadelphia, and was always an adventurer, remembered by relatives for trying to launch a rocket from the roof of the family home.
He played football, ran track in the Penn Relays, and graduated from John Bartram High School in 1958. He worked for a time as an orderly at Philadelphia General Hospital, and after graduating from Cheyney, he taught in the master’s program in urban planning at Penn from 1969 to 1971.
He married Crystal Waters in 1962, and they had a daughter, Kelly, and a son, Michael. They later divorced, and he married Stella White in 1981. His ex-wife had died earlier.
Mr. Shannon loved working on cars and home projects, and would take his family on memorable trips in recreational vehicles. Neighbors called him the Mayor of Hoffman Place because he was meticulous about keeping his community clean and safe.
He loved to read and would often hum his favorite tunes as he walked around the house. “He was patient and a good listener,” his daughter said. “As a father, it was a dream.” “He loved being a father and raising children,” his son said.
His wife said: He was a very good man. He always encouraged me. “He spoiled me rotten.”
In addition to his wife and children, Mr. Shannon is survived by two sisters and other relatives. Two sisters and two brothers died earlier.
Services were held on Wednesday, November 8th.