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Born in Bridgeport (now part of Waterloo), Earle Clare Shelley (1905-1990) attended high school at Waterloo College School from 1920 to 1924, and then continued in post-secondary studies at Waterloo College (now Wilfrid Laurier University), graduating in 1928. While at Waterloo College, Shelley was the founding assistant editor and advertising manager of The College Cord, the school newspaper, and was heavily involved in the French, English, and German Literary Societies. In 1927 he joined the North Waterloo Regiment, which was later redesignated as the Scots Fusiliers of Canada. After teaching French and English courses at the College from 1928 to 1931, Shelley then attended the Ontario College of Education at the University of Toronto to become a secondary school teacher.
In 1932, Shelley began teaching languages at the Stratford Collegiate Institute. He was also transferred to the local Perth Regiment, rising to the rank of Major by 1939. When the regiment mobilized in September 1939, Shelley was granted a leave of absence from the school to serve with the Canadian Army. After the war, Shelley helped to organize the Student Militia Summer Training Programme and continued to lead various cadet units. In 1945, Shelley left Stratford and began teaching French at the Rehabilitation School for Returning Veterans at Knollwood Park Camp in Kitchener. In 1947, he became vice-principle at the Thamesford Continuation School where he also taught languages, history, and physical education. When the school in Thamesford was absorbed into the Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute in 1953, Shelley continued to teach there until his retirement in 1965.
Throughout his career, Shelley also became very involved municipally. While in Thamesford, Shelley helped to organize the Chamber of Commerce, Recreational Centre, Tennis Club, and the Boy Scout Association. He also served as Chairman of the Village Council, Library Board, and Lawn Bowling Club, and became an active member of the Thamesford Royal Canadian Legion, also serving as District B Commander from 1969 to 1971.
In his retirement, Shelley became heavily involved at Waterloo Lutheran/Wilfrid Laurier University. He served on the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association, also representing the Association in the university’s Board of Governors and Senate. In 1977, he was recognized as Laurier’s Alumnus of the Century and was the Lifetime Vice-President of the Alumni Association.
Shelley also wrote poetry and numerous essays during his life, including a book of poems called “Fallen Petals” (1931). He also compiled the histories of both the Scots Fusiliers of Canada (Kitchener) and the Perth Regiment (Stratford), and wrote extensively on occult experiences and UFOs.
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