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Mildred Leigh Shiver, / August 10, 2017

Mildred Leigh Shiver, who grew up in the Meadville area of Halifax Country and who is one of the last public school elementary teachers to instruct the child of a U.S. vice president, died of neoplasm of the liver at her home in Alexandria, Aug. 1, 2017. She was 94.

Mrs. Shiver, whose 34-year teaching career spanned school desegregation in Virginia, spent two of those years at Douglas McArthur Elementary School in Alexandria, where one of her fifth grade pupils was Steven M. Ford, son of former vice president Gerald R. Ford.

“I remember her fondly from Douglas McArthur,” wrote Ford in a letter to Mrs. Shiver’s family in 2014. “Please thank her for me and the hundreds of other students who were blessed by her passion to teach,” added Ford who is now chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation.

No vice president since Ford has enrolled their child in public school, including Al Gore, the last vice president to have school aged-children while in office. Jimmy Carter was the last sitting president to send a child to public school.

Ford’s letter came in response to the family reaching out to former students and colleagues on the occasion of Mrs. Shiver’s ninety-first birthday. She remarked then that teaching was always a joy and never a challenge even when working in segregated schools that had few resources.

“I always wrote: ‘autograph your work with excellence!’ ” on each student’s paper I graded, said Mrs. Shiver.

Mrs. Shiver’s public school teaching career began in 1951 at segregated Douglas High School in Winchester, where she taught typing and shorthand to black students from the Shenandoah Valley, according to Alexandria City School Board records. She then moved on to teach at a number of segregated schools in Manassas and Prince William County before settling in Alexandria, Virginia in 1958.

Besides teaching, Mrs. Shiver also served as a Fairfax County Election Officer, helping the county set up voting equipment and tabulate results in elections from 1976 to 2012. In addition, she was a charter member of Black Women United for Action, a Springfield-based community organization dedicated to improving the lives of women as well as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and Top Ladies of Distinction Inc., a non-profit educational organization in Alexandria

Mildred Shiver was born Feb. 18, 1923, in South Boston. She was one of eight children of Harrison and Fannie Leigh. She received a bachelor’s degree in business from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1949 and a master’s degree in education from American University.

She is pre-deceased by her husband, Jube B. Shiver Sr. of Fairfax County, who died Nov. 20, 2010. A daughter, Jacqueline D. Shiver, died in 1998.

Survivors include a son, Jube Shiver Jr. of Alexandria; daughter-in-law Tadasha Culbreath-Shiver and two grandsons, Touré and Jela Shiver.

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