The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published Thursday, July 30, 1998


Family to honor dam’s designer

By Karen Coates
Herald Staff Writer

The family of John Calvin Staples will be making a sentimental journey to the Shenango Dam in South Pymatuning Township next week to pay homage to their late family member. A tree and plaque will be placed at the dam — the site of one of Staples’ most memorable accomplishments.

“I think its great that he’s being recognized. Everybody is coming, all 60 of us,” said Staples’ daughter Nancy Whalen, of Jeanette, Pa. “I asked him many times what his favorite project was ... it was his dam.”

A resident engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers, her father was in charge of supervising construction of the dam in 1963. It was finished in 1965.

Mrs. Whalen said Staples retired to New Castle shortly after the project was finished. He died in October, three weeks before he was to turn 91.

Members of Staples’ family including his four daughters: Mrs. Whalen; Joann Rose of McMurray, Pa.; Bea May Holmes, of Grosse Ile, Mich.; and Patricia Kelly, of Edgewater Park, N.J.; 18 children; and 25 grandchildren, will return to the dam. The reunion will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 8. A sunburst maple tree will be planted and a plaque placed near the dam as a memorial. Mrs. Kelly said the dedication will mean a great deal to the family as a reunion and as a celebration honoring her father. The dam was one of his most challenging accomplishments he told her because engineers had to move the town of Clarksville and a cemetery.

Mike Cummings, resource manager for the lake, said because of the dam the corps estimates $81 million in flood damage has been prevented.

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Updated July 30, 1998
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