Paul Emory Shook was born on April 11,1902 in Catawba
County to David Emanuel and Candace Aquilla (Hoffman-Cline)
Shook. In 1903 the Shook family moved by horse and wagon to
Stanley, to the home where his brother Ernest Shook lives on the Hickory Grove Road.
At the age of nine (9), he carried bricks to build the chimneys
in Christ's Lutheran Church old parsonage (where the educational
building now stands). As soon as he was paid he took the money to
the Post Office and got it exchanged into pennies to have more
pieces of money to jingle in his pocket.
In 1927 (December 22) Paul will marry Edna Olene (Stroupe) daughter of Macon Lee Stroupe and
Etta (Hoffman) Stroupe, at the Dallas Lutheran parsonage, Dallas, NC, with Reverend Dorus P.
Rudisill officiating. The Stroupe family lived on the Spencer Mountain Road, Stanley, NC.
Paul was a merchant in Stanley for over fifty (50) years, both
in the grocery and later in the clothing business. He first began in
business with his brother in law (John Franklin Wallace, Sr.) in
1920, and was co-owner and operated Shook-Abernathy Grocery
Store with Warren Abernathy. In 1928 his half-brother, George
Robert Shook (Bob) will become his partner in this store.
During the Depression (1929-1930), when the people didn't
have money to buy groceries, he let them have what they needed on
credit... Sometimes knowing that many may not be able to pay him
later. Robert Mauney, our local barber was one of families helped
greatly by Paul and his generosity, "If it hadn't been for Paul our
family as well as others here in Stanley would have starved to death
during this difficult time." Paul, would get their orders in the mornings, get them up and deliver
them the next day. The grocery store
got eggs from Mr. Ed Gollner... The price during the depression that
Mr. Gollner wanted for the eggs was too much for the people to
pay... So Paul turned to Mr. Gollner and said, "I will pay you half
the asking price, and you pay the other half and we will give each
family in Stanley a dozen fresh eggs...otherwise you won't be able
to get rid of your eggs... Needless to say... The families of Stanley
received a free carton of eggs from the grocery store...And a lot of
families who would have gone hungry during the Depression were
able to be fed thanks to Paul and his help...Not only did he give
away large amounts of goods to private families, but also to Stanley
Schools, The Salvation Army and to his Church.
In the 1940's the Shook Brothers, Paul, Bob, Avery, and Bob's sons, Oliver and Lester "Doc" will
move the Grocery business from their earlier location on North Main Street to a block
downtown to the J. W. Dellinger property on South Main Street.
After twenty-five (25) years in the grocery business, Paul will decide
to move into the clothing business in the old Post Office building on August
5, 1948. He brought his cash register and ceiling fan from the grocery store.
He built wooden shelves and counters. (All the above mentioned items are
still part of the store - which today is called Friday's Clothing Store.)
Paul said the local school, its principal, 0. L. Kiser, and many of its
teachers, at the beginning of each school year would come over and say
they had children who had no clothes to wear except what was on their back,
and many kids had no shoes and had to come to school barefoot. Paul said he
would help them. On many occasions each school year the same story played
out... One year he will be asked for thirty eight (38) pairs of shoes for the
kids. When Mr. Kiser, the principal, came to pick up the thirty-eight (38)
pairs of shoes, Paul had thrown in twelve (12) extra pairs of shoes - The
total of the thirty-eight (38) pairs was a dollar a pair or $38.00, the twelve
(12) extra pairs were free.
No matter how many times a month the Salvation Army trucks came around he had them a box, saying, "it
will help someone a bit." Mr. Shook had a big green ledger book (just as he had in the grocery store
before, to let customers charge their merchandise). He never gave a receipt and rarely ever wrote
customers about their accounts, even though some ran their bills up to $300.00 or more. Some paid
weekly, monthly, some every six months and some paid when they got their 4th of
July bonus be it $.25, $.50, $1.00, $2.00, and while there they got more
merchandise (In all the years of grocery and clothing, Paul put all the
money on his green ledger credit book. Once thieves cut through the roof of
the store and took the safe out the back door (The green ledger book that had
what many folks owed on their charge accounts was taken along with other
valuable items)... His customers came in and tried to tell him what they
thought they owed... (Paul went from there) They knew if it had not been for
his generosity their children would have gone almost naked and barefooted to school and church.
He tried to remember each student whose parents had traded with him over the years
when they graduated from high school with a gift, even though he had not received an invitation
to the graduation ceremonies.
On January 1, 1976, Ailene Friday, who had been employed by Paul at the clothing store will become the
new owner... Paul and Edna Shook will retire from the clothing business.
For his humanitarian efforts the Merchants of Stanley, The Stanley Jaycees, and Ailene Friday
(who had been employed by Paul Shook in his clothing store for eleven (II) years )
decided to do something for Mr. Shook because he had done so much for the citizens of Stanley.
On April 11, 1975, on his 73rd birthday, at his home on Hickory Grove Road, when
he was recovering from major surgery, the Town of Stanley celebrated "Paul
Shook Day," for his many years of service to our community. A huge birthday cake, flowers and over
200 birthday cards were received.
Paul and Edna were life-long active members of Christ's Lutheran Church. Paul, serving on the
committee to build the new parsonage, on the Church Council, as Financial Secretary of the
Congregation, on the Property Committee, on the Finance Committee, as Chairman of the Building
Committee for the Educational Building, and on the Committee for the present sanctuary. Paul
and Royce Hawley were instrumental in resituating burial plots on the church property so that our
present parking and paving area could be added, in turn paying much more for the the plots at
Hillcrest Gardens Memorial Park. That was the kind of man he was.
Edna was the co-owner of Shocks Clothing Store and was a member of the Gaston Extension Homemaker's
Club, Member of Christ's Lutheran Church, where she was a former Sunday School
Teacher and past President and member of the Lutheran Church
Women. Along with Mrs. K. Y. Huddle was instrumental in making the Christmas Religious decorations
for our Chrismon Tree, used each year in our annual service of "The Hanging of the Green."
Paul and Edna celebrated their 55th Wedding Anniversary in December 1982.
On Father's Day, June 20,1982, Christ's Lutheran Church honored Mr. Paul E. Shook as "Paul Shook Day"
for his active and faithful membership in Christ's Lutheran Church for over 70 years, leaving to all
those who knew him the mark of faithfulness to God and his Church, concern and caring for family
and friends, and his many years of service to our community.
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