SYCAMORE – Karl H. Schafer, 91, of Sycamore, passed away Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, at Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb.|
Schafer was born April 11, 1922, the son of Christian and Katharine (Randecker) Schaefer in Dettingen, Germany. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1929. They experienced the Great Depression first-hand, struggling as a farming family in southern Iowa.
Schafer began his education at age 7 in a one-room schoolhouse with 14 children, six ponies and one teacher where no one spoke the same language. A few years later, the family moved to Elizabeth, where he graduated from high school in 1940.
After placing first in a countywide exam, Schafer received a full scholarship to the University of Illinois, where he majored in engineering. His studies were interrupted by World War II and service overseas. While in the U.S. Army, he first served in the Corps of Engineers, eventually utilizing his bilingual skills to serve as a linguist, intelligence officer and finally a negotiator at the end of the war.
It was in Germany where he met his wife, Marie E. Haag. They were married on Oct. 25, 1947, in Michelstadt, Germany. After the war, the couple returned to the United States and lived in the Quad Cities area. In 1948, Schafer started working at Iowa-Illinois Gas and Electric Company. After four years, he became manager of the Riverside power plant and retired in 1985 after serving his last ten years as vice president of engineering and operations at Mid-American Energy.
He once told his grandson, Karl, that solving engineering problems and improving energy efficiency was "great fun." A nephew, Ken Kleckner, remarked that his uncle's enthusiasm for engineering inspired his own career in the field.
Karl was a man of strong ethics and moral fabric. He was a member of New Hope Lutheran Church in Geneva, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a past member of the Rotary Club in Bettendorf, Iowa.
While living in the Quad Cities, he was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church where he served as a deacon and Sunday school teacher for a number of years. Schafer was talented with and truly enjoyed repairing and building projects.
In his early years and with help from friends, he built two homes from the ground up. As his late wife used to comment, "If Karl builds it, it will never come down." In his earlier years, he enjoyed fishing and hunting.
He loved to travel and planned extensive family vacations every summer. After his retirement, he and Marie also enjoyed numerous trips within the U.S. as well as abroad.
He is survived by three daughters, Linda Moore of Mobile, Ala., Carole (Alan) Gooding of Sycamore and Sharon (Mark) Levy of Jupiter, Fla.; his son, Karl R. (Kathleen) Schafer of Lower Providence, Pa.; four grandchildren, Alexander Moore, Vanessa Moore, Karl J. Schafer and Susan Schafer; his brother, Walter Schaefer of Stockton; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Marie; and two sisters, Helen Wurster and Lore Kleckner.
The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Hermann Funeral Home, 247 North Park St., Stockton. There will be a one-hour visitation before the service beginning 10 a.m. Interment will take place at Ladies Union Cemetery in Stockton.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to one of the following organizations: Colon Cancer Alliance, 1025 Vermont Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005; or Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELCA World Hunger, P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with his family at www.hermannfuneralhome.com.
To sign the online guest book, visit www.legacy.com/daily-chronicle.
Published in Daily Chronicle on Oct. 7, 2013