By John P. Blackwell
Richard C. Sheridan retired from TVA in 1988 after 28 years as a Research Chemist, but he also became well-known as a writer and historian in the Muscle Shoals area. So how does somebody make a transition like that?
This journey began for Sheridan at an early age, when he had a desire to read history at his home in west Kentucky. However, while he did manage to get a year of history’ under his belt in college, most of his courses were in chemistry.
After college, Sheridan went to work for TVA in 1960 in Muscle Shoals. He was always one to excel, and that was demonstrated in his TVA career as a Research Chemist. He continued with another career as an adjunct professor at the University of North Alabama.
Sheridan and his wife, Carol, settled down in Sheffield to raise a family of four daughters.
“My history interests were stimulated by a desire to learn about the history of the Shoals, since I did not grow up here, ” Sheridan says.
He began by reading one of the most popular local history books, ‘Two Hundred Years at Muscle Shoals” by Nina Leftwich.
While balancing a career with TVA and family, he still found time to devote to his favorite hobby. In 1964 his first writing was presented at a meeting of the local historical society about Confederate Gen. James Deshler.
His and Carol’s family began to grow more, and today they have six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Sheridan soon became a well -known local historian. He is past president of the Tennessee Valley Historical Advisory Council for the Trail of Tears Historic Trail
He is the official historian for the city of Sheffield.
He served several years as program chairman tor the Colbert County Historical Landmarks Foundation.
He currently serves on the Old Railroad Bridge Board and is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
For a number of years, he wrote a history column for the Times Daily. Today, he writes a column for the Kidsville News, which is distributed to schools and libraries in the Shoals area to help children appreciate their heritage.
Sheridan served in the U.S. Army in Germany as part of the occupation forces. ‘”At the time of my enlistment, I weighed 114 pounds and was skinny as a rail,” he says.
Sheridan also has an outstanding career with the local American Legion chapter, where he held many offices such as commander and adjutant and is still an outstanding legionnaire.
Sheridan most recent y has helped write “FDR, TVA, AND CCC — Federal Influence in the Shoals,” which is volume 19 of Journal of Muscle Shoals History.” He also has contributed to “Sheffield History and Recollections,” Volume 18, of Journal of Muscle Shoals History.” It you would like a copy of these books, you can contact Sheridan at 256-3812298 or rcsneridan29@yahço.com.
Sheridan now has about 50 years under his belt as the Shoals-area historian, He says he thinks he has done a good of telling the story of the Shoals, not having grown up here. This validated by how often he is being contacted by reporters and others concerning local history.
Sheridan is a treasure of the Tennessee Valley Authority Retirement Association (TVARA) Shoals area, and the Muscle Shoals TVARA Chapter is very proud to have him as a member.
Original Published in the TVARA News Magazine, December 2015 edition
Republished by permission from the author John P. Blackwell