December 29, 1934 – June 18, 2020
H.L. Shahan, of Tulare passed into his Savior’s arms on June 18, 2020 at the age of 85 after dealing with Alzheimer’s the last 5 years of his life. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 He was born December 29, 1934 in Bixby Oklahoma to Harry Leslie and Lea (Pyle) Shahan. In 1945 the family moved to Visalia where he grew up with his brother, Paul and sister, Wanda on the Freitas family farm located on Mooney Blvd. where the Lowes and Costco now stand. H.L. attended Liberty School and Visalia Union High School, graduating in 1953. He married Shirley Jean Epperson from Visalia in 1955 and went to work for Epperson Roofing. H.L. and Shirley had three children, Janet, Steve, and Bob. He was a great dad and papa who enjoyed making homemade ice cream for his family and friends. Spending the day up at Lake Kaweah fishing off the houseboat that he built and hunting with his friend Doug Thorley. H.L. led full and enjoying life, but his favorite hobbies of all was drag racing and building engines. It was in 1956 that H.L. purchased his first race vehicle and headed down the road to Madera race track where he won a trophy at competing in his first drag race. This was the start of his racing career. In 1960 H.L. partnered with Ed Parker to open Precision Automotive on Kern street in Tulare. At one time H.L. and Ed had seven race cars out of their shop competing at local drag races. A couple years later this partnership would dissolve and H.L. would start his own business, Shahan’s Hi-Performance Center. This would be the local’s and not so local’s place to go and get your engine turned. Somewhere in the mix of drag racing Shirley had gotten behind the wheel and proved to be just as fast off the lights, if not faster than him at the race track. He decided to turn the driving over to Shirley and he would concentrate on building engines and making her car go faster. In 1963 tuning engines for Ronnie Broadhead from Porterville they won the NHRA Stock Eliminator title. H.L. and Shirley received a 1965 Hemi Plymouth from Chrysler and they started racing up and down California. It was in Pomona at the 1966 NHRA Winternationals the Shahan Team would win the Top Stock class making Shirley the first woman to win a NHRA national drag racing title. After that win H.L. and Shirley went on the road traveling across the states drag racing and making new friends wherever they went. In 1997 H.L. was inducted into the Super Stock Magazine Hall of Fame as an engine builder. After retiring from racing in 1973 H.L. went back to work full time doing what he did best, building engines in his white pants, with a smile on his face. “Hi ya” to all who walked in, and at the end of the day, not a speck of grease on him. H.L. is preceded in death by his parents and brother Paul Wayne Shahan. He is survived by a loving family who will miss him greatly. His sister, Wanda Shahan Freeman. Children, Janet Correia (Clarence), Steve Shahan (Kim), Bob Shahan (Carla). Nine grandchildren, Stephanie Tamariz (James), Jennifer Correia, Christina Akins (Tommy), Jeremy Correia (Katharine), Stevi Zonneveld (Cory), LeAnn Williamson (Derek), Courtani Estep, Brittani and Ashley Shahan. Twenty-five great grandchildren, one great great grandson, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and his Oklahoma family where he never forgot his roots. The Shahan family would like to extend their appreciation to Connie Santos and the staff at Merritt Manor for taking care of their father, H.L. or as he would tell the nurses when asked him his name, Hot Lips. Graveside services will be held on Friday, June 26 at 11:00 a.m. at the Tulare District Cemetery, 900 E. Kern Avenue, Tulare. There will be a Celebration of Life at a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to DRAW (Drag Racing Association of Women) in memory of H.L. Shahan. www.drawfasthelp.org/donate
- Wanda Shahan Freeman, Sister
- Janet Correia (Clarence Correia), Daughter
- Steve Shahan (Kim Shahan), Son
- Bob Shahan (Carla Shahan), Son
- Stephanie Tamariz (James Tamariz), Granddaughter
- Jennifer Correia, Granddaughter
- Christina Akins (Tommy Akins), Granddaughter
- Jeremy Correia (Katharine Correia), Grandson
- Stevi Zonneveld (Cory Zonneveld), Granddaughter
- LeAnn Williamson (Derek Williamson), Granddaughter
- Courtani Estep, Granddaughter
- Brittani Shahan, Granddaughter
- Ashley Shahan, Granddaughter
- 25 Great Grandchildren, One Great Great Grandson, Numerous Cousins, nieces, nephews and his Oklahoma family where he never forgot his roots.
Friday, June 26, 2020
June 25, 2020
Sending our condolences to all the family members of H.l. He will be missed.
JM and Peggy Bragg
June 24, 2020
I remember back when I was a teenager, H.L., Shirley and Janet came through Longview on the way to Seattle for a race. I got to go with them. Janet and I got to ride in the race car perched up on the trailer. So much fun!
They had parked the race car on the trailer in front of our house. Excitement on Cypress Street with all the neighbors checking out the Drag-on-Lady car!