A Life Remembered: Dave Shaul

A Life Remembered: Dave Shaul

CHAMPAIGN — Dave Shaul, who worked for 37 years as a television newsman at WCIA in Champaign and both began and ended his broadcast news career at WDWS, also in Champaign, passed away Monday morning at home.

He was 75. Visitation will be held on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m at Morgan Memorial Home in Savoy. A funeral service will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Champaign.

"I thought he was the consummate TV newscaster, news director," said Dick Adams, who worked with Mr. Shaul at WCIA from 1963 to 1999. "I remember him saying once that he had offers to go to other markets but he thought folks in central Illinois deserved a high quality news product and he felt the need to give that to them."

John Paul, a former WCIA reporter, news anchor and news director who now teaches at the University of Illinois, called Mr. Shaul "the best mentor I've ever had.

"I've been thinking lately as I get ready to retire who's been most influential outside of family. He's always cared about every employee who worked under him and there are so many people today whose careers are dependent on Dave Shaul, either because he hired them or because he mentored them and sent them out of the nest onto other great jobs," said Paul, who succeeded Mr. Shaul as news director at WCIA.

Mr. Shaul covered his last election in November 2016, feeling well enough to work during the bout with cancer that ultimately claimed his life.

A Champaign native, Mr. Shaul attended Champaign schools and the University of Illinois, from which he graduated in 1963. His father was Verrollton C. Shaul, a longtime director of music for the Champaign school district and a local Kiwainis leader.

Both Mr. Shaul, who graduated from Champaign High School, and the late Roger Ebert, who graduated from Urbana High School, were winners of the Illinois State High School Association speech competitions.

Rick Schoell, who said he was persuaded by Mr. Shaul to lead and promote the Tom Jones Challenger League, sponsored by the Champaign-Urbana Kiwanis Club, said it was "one of the richest experiences of my life."

The league is named for the longtme WCIA sports anchor who worked with Mr. Shaul. Tom Jones lived most of his life in a wheelchair after being shot at the age of 6 in an accident.

"There's nothing false about Dave Shaul. He's one of the most genuine people I know," said Schoell. "He embodies what the league is all about: to allow people who otherwise might not have an opportunity to experence baseball and pure joy to give them an environment to do that."

Schoell said that Mr. Shaul announced many of the Challenger League games at AMBUCS Park in northeast Urbana.

"He brought that wonderful rich, vibrant voice to the games and was able to capture those moments with these players, whether it was somebody getting a hit or getting from first to second, making a play in the field. He was a great observer, able to capture the essence of an experience," Schoell said.

Mr. Shaul began his career at WCIA in 1962. He has served as news anchor, producer and the news director. He did play by play of Illinois basketball games. He was instrumental in opening WCIA bureaus in Springfield and in Decatur, and oversaw the transition from film to videotape to live and satellite feeds.

He was honored with the Associated Press Mark Twain Lifetime Achievement Award, named to the Eastern Illinois University Hall of Fame and designated a lifetime member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.


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787 wrote on May 22, 2017 at 9:05 am

None better in this area than Mr, Shaul.  Many in the business today (especially the younger ones who can't seem to be capable of keeping their politics out of it) could have learned something from him.  

Kept to the facts, and kept his personal feelings out of it.  Thank you, Mr. Shaul.

Nice Davis wrote on May 23, 2017 at 11:05 pm

God forbid you honor a man's passing without working your own personal grievances into it

Ellen wrote on May 22, 2017 at 10:05 am

Goodbye, Mr. Shaul. You have been a part of my television life for as long as I can remember. A consumate professional and a wonderful human being. You will be missed. 

Local Yocal wrote on May 22, 2017 at 10:05 am
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One of the nicest and most genuine people in broadcasting. He was one of the all-time greats. 

myxola wrote on May 22, 2017 at 10:05 am

Dave Shaul was the best possible boss I could have ever imagined.  He led by example and he cared deeply for all those who worked for him and those who he served as a broadcaster.  He will profoundly missed and remembered as a man of the highest caliber.  I was fortunate to have learned so much from him, about broadcasting and about life.  

worldgoesroundincircles wrote on May 22, 2017 at 10:05 am

What a loss to our east central Illinois community. My mother graduated H.S. with Dave. He was the voice and face to WCIA in my opinoin. Remember seeing him at Illini baseball games too. Really miss the mid-day news with his soft gentle voice. We'll miss you Dave. You were one of the best. RIP. 

Trailmom wrote on May 22, 2017 at 11:05 am

Dave was the most professional, down to earth, and warmest person to work for.  He changed the course of my life when he took a chance and gave me an internship which led to a 23 year career with WCIA. He will be missed not only as a journalist but as a wonderful human being!

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on May 22, 2017 at 3:05 pm
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He was a kind man & a consummate professional, a huge asset to the community.

Mr. Shaul offered me an entry level job at WCIA when I graduated from college. I opted for law school instead, and missed the chance to work with him. But I always found his delivery thoroughly reassuring, whether on the noon TV news or the radio.

Thewatcher wrote on May 22, 2017 at 1:05 pm

In this day and age, you really wish there were more people like Mr. Shaul.  He was an upstanding guy and delivered the news as it should be; factually and truthfully.  I trusted him with the news and looked forward to hearing his voice.  He will be greatly missed.

Bwp 5P wrote on May 23, 2017 at 9:05 am

An Icon! I only wish many of the people that are on the news now would study his delivery. Slow, understandable, and articulate, as opposed to the reporters of today that seem to believe it's a race to see how fast they can talk!

God Bless his family

byrdslover wrote on May 24, 2017 at 1:05 am

I had the opportunity to work for Dave for about a year at the end of his career at WCIA.  Simply one of the nicest people I have ever met.