Jean A. Shisler; 59; learned again to drive after accident

Jean A. Shisler
Jean A. Shisler
Posted: August 08, 2012

After the diving accident that left him a quadriplegic, Jean A. Shisler was told that he would never even drive a motor vehicle with hand controls.

But Mr. Shisler proved the doctors wrong. Several times a week for the last 12 years, he drove his customized van to construction sites in Philadelphia and Camden County and sold gloves and apparel to workers who called him "the Glove Guy."

Mr. Shisler, 59, died of a heart attack on Friday, Aug. 3, at his home in Mantua. He had visited a construction site that day, said his wife, Susan Lynam Shisler.

Mr. Shisler graduated from Deptford High School, earned an associate's degree in business from Gloucester County College, then worked on his family's hog farm in Deptford, where he had grown up.

Following their marriage in 1974, Mr. Shisler and his wife built a home with a pool on the farm. In 1976, two weeks after his daughter was born, Mr. Shisler dove into the pool, and broke his neck and severed his spine.

Determined to be useful, he learned to drive a hand-controlled van. He had some movement in his arms and hands but none in his fingers, his wife said.

He drove his wife and daughter cross-country for a vacation one year and motored to Walt Disney World several times. While his wife was earning her nursing degree in the 1980s, she said, he was "Mr. Mom," running errands and driving their daughter and her friends to cheerleading practice and the movies.

After his wife established Glove Guy in 2000, Mr. Shisler became a salesman for the company's products.

He was beloved by customers, his wife said. When Citizens Bank Park was completed, he received the sweatshirt given to all the workers on the job.

Mr. Shisler enjoyed fishing and boating with friends in Ocean City, N.J., and for a while had a motor boat rigged with hand controls. He loved sitting in his wheelchair at the edge of the Ocean City Music Pier and watching the ocean, his wife said.

"His life was a challenge," she said. "Just getting out of bed and trying to be comfortable was a feat in itself. But Jean woke up every day with full intent of making the most of it, and he did."

In addition to his wife and daughter, Susan Doughty, Mr. Shisler is survived by a brother and two granddaughters.

A farewell ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, at McGuinness Funeral Home, 34 Hunter St., Woodbury. Burial will be in Woodbury Memorial Park, West Deptford.


Contact Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.

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