Jack E. Shaffer passed away on May 6, 2019.
He was born in Minnesota in 1928, before moving to California, where he grew up in both San Francisco and Watsonville. As a young man, Jack served in the Navy, during which time he was stationed in Florida and San Diego. He earned his BA in art, his teaching credential and other degrees from Humboldt State University. Jack and his wife, Virginia, built their first home on Old Arcata Road, before marrying in 1952. Jack’s first teaching job was in 1953 at Peninsula Elementary School in Samoa. He then taught at Arcata High for 36 years, teaching art, photography and history.
Aunt Pat said it best, " Jack was a Jack of all trades."
Although dad left the classroom nearly 4 decades ago, he never quit lecturing. Family and friends would remind each other to avoid asking Jack a question unless you had a few hours to spare. That said, dad was a gifted public speaker. When I once remarked he had no fear, he smiled and said, "I hide it well."
A life long learner, Jack was always up for a challenge. He taught nearly every subject at Arcata High and used to joke that the only job he hadn't had was a school nurse because Mrs. Davis was just too good at it. He went on to be a guidance counselor, Vice Principal, and Assistant Superintendent. In his free time, he painted, built houses and boats, flew planes, rode motorcycles, fished, bought and worked on cars, and was always up for a game of cribbage.
His family, including his older brother Bobby and younger sister Pat, moved frequently. Every time he told the story, the number of schools he attended grew. He enjoyed sharing with the grandchildren about his youth polishing shoes in San Francisco, driving for a packing plant at age 14, and living adjacent to the Tanforan Race Track when it was used as a temporary camp for the Japanese Americans during WWII. His last move was to Arcata to attend Humboldt State College after serving in the Navy.
Dad had few regrets in life, although he did mention missing out on the property with an ocean view in Trinidad in the 1960s because it was just too much money... and prices kept climbing. Dad and mom did purchase a cabin at Big Lagoon and later he and son, Mark built an A-frame in Trinity Village.
Dad and mom belonged to a photography club for many years. Graduates of Humboldt State including Tom and Katie Knight, Laurald and Peggy Stebbins, and Bob and Dorothy Crittenden met biannually for a photo contest. This group remained close for many years.
He also remained friends with colleagues from Arcata High. Family and friends enjoyed boating at Big Lagoon, cribbage tournaments in Trinity Village, camping trips to Fish Lake and picnics at Fern Canyon. Longtime pals included Laurald and Peggy Stebbins, Ken Gelatt, Roland and Helen Choate, Dave and Sharon Tecker, Dick and Warene Jarboe, and so many others.
Dad inspired us to be our best. Growing up we learned he was liberal in his praise and had a disapproving look that cut you to the quick. Like all good teachers, he had mastered " the look."
Dad and mom, together since 1948, were able to live independently until quite recently. Dad celebrated his 91st birthday in February and passed on May 6, 2019, with his wife Virginia and his children, Hollie Goodman and Mark Shaffer, present.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Alva and Lillian Shaffer, and his brother Bobby Leroy Shaffer. He is survived by his wife, Virginia, his sister Patricia Gibson, his children Hollie and Mark, son-in-law Michael Goodman, four grandchildren, Matthew Goodman (Catheline), Anna Goodman, Jay Goodman, and Moira Pitlock (née Goodman) and five great-grandchildren: Caleb, Faith, and Grayson Pitlock, and Cibella and Adlei Goodman.
Dad received the best care possible from Visiting Angels, Agape, and Sequoia Springs Memory Care Unit. A special thanks to The Veterans Administration Home Based Program and Hospice.
At Jack’s request, there will be no service.
To share memories or express condolences, please sign guest book.
To send flowers to Jack's family, please visit our floral section.