Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Notary public leaves his mark on six decades of documents

by on May 25, 2013 10:50 AM

ELDERTON — Victor Schall first set forth his seal as a notary public back before World War II, witnessing and attesting to the signatures of the people bringing their important documents before him.

Last Saturday, he set aside his seal and notarized the last of the deeds, wills, motor vehicle title transfers and agreements that otherwise would have little strength in law.

The day had come, as prescribed on the message that he rubber-stamped to those documents:

“My commission expires May 18, 2013.”

And so it did.

“You know, I met a very large number of nice people over years that I would not have met otherwise,” Schall said.

Schall said he put a great value on service as a notary public, working out of his home along North Main Street in Elderton all those years — and all those hours.

It didn’t matter to him when he was called to notarize.

“Regardless of the time, if I was home, I would do what people needed done,” he said. “Whether it was 10 o’clock at night or whenever. I would gladly do it, because I wanted to be of service to people.”

That sounds above and beyond the standard for 2013, but it may not have been so uncommon for folks of Victor Schall’s generation.

On Tuesday, three days after the passive start of his retirement, Victor turned 95.

He talked about no special plans for retirement, but spoke with pride of all his career had entailed.

In 1940, at only 22 years old, he was elected justice of the peace.

And about the same time, he started his own office as an independent agent for Hartford Insurance.

“We had fire, accident and life insurance,” he said.

Changes came in 1958. The justice of the peace position was declared a full-time job and Schall opted to give that up and keep his insurance clientele.

Schall also was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Department of State as a notary public.

He retired from his insurance office after 47 years, in the mid-1980s, but kept his notary public commission, asking to have it renewed every four years at the will of whoever served as the state senator for his district.

Patrick Stapleton and Don White most recently, and routinely, helped to renew Victor’s commission.

“I can do everything as a notary that I could as a justice of the peace, except marry people and sue people,” he said. “But I wasn’t interested in suing people.”

In the 1940s and ’50s, he estimated, he performed about 22 marriages, most in the office fashioned from what originally was a small garage attached to his home.

Schall said he has no plans to leave Elderton or his home. His office is still equipped, and his notary sign is still posted in the front window.

And Elderton-area residents needing a notary won’t have to look far to get their papers stamped.

Victor’s son, Chester A. Schall, who lives with him on North Main Street, also is a commissioned notary.

Chester has announced a part-time schedule of office hours, “(but) if he’s needed when he’s here, he’ll be glad to serve as a notary public,” Victor said.

And that way, retirement won’t mean an end to what Victor enjoyed most about being a notary.

“Meeting people … they came from Indiana, Kittanning, Sagamore and all around,” Victor said. “I wouldn’t have met them if they didn’t come to me for service as a notary. I liked that!”

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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