homepage logo

Celebrating a lifetime

By Staff | Aug 30, 2013

Veteran Navy Captain John Schley celebrates his 95th birthday, today Aug. 30, and a lifetime of service to his nation and the local community that he calls home.

A native of Shepherdstown, Schley grew up on High St. right downtown.

The ‘baby,’ of the family of five, Schley was raised the son of banker Harrison Schley, who was grandson of Jefferson Security Bank founder Benjamin Harrison.

“That’s when the bank was where the restaurant is now,” Schley said recalling a downtown area not so like it is today.

According to an article published previously in the Chronicle, Schleys family reaches back five generations in Shepherdstown, settling eventually on what would became known as the Schley Farm, on the corner of German and Church streets.

After attending Shepherd College, Schley joined the Navy following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, who served as an admiral in Cuba.

Schley said he counts his military service amongst his greatest life achievements.

“I loved being in the Navy,” he said.

Proudly showing off a display of caps he keeps, each symbolizing a ship he commanded in military career that stretched over 30 years, Schley discussed his service in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam conflict.

“I don’t know of anyone who has had more ship commands,” he said.

Though Schley’s son, lives in an apartment built under the family home, Schley now lives alone upstairs, as his wife Jean passed away nearly two decades ago.

Though Schley moves around fine, despite one bad knee, he no longer leaves home much, preferring to relax and read the newspaper, watch tv or do work around the house.

Appearing to be in great health, Schley attributes his longevity to something very simple: eating healthily and staying active.

“I went to the Wellness Center for years once a week,” he said.

“I stay well.” he said.

Since retiring in 1970, Schley served on various community boards, like Shepherdstown’s Historic Landmarks Committee and Hospital Board, devoting his time to volunteer work.

Schley said he’ll likely just celebrate his birthday with a family dinner.

“There’s been much ado,” he said, playing down the event.

Schley said he’d offer no special advice on aging, though he thinks place is important.

“This is a nice place to live isn’t it?”