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David O. Shaff

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David O. Shaff Obituary
David O. Shaff


David O. Shaff, 87, died in Bettendorf, IA September 14, 2011.

Born in Clinton, Iowa on February 18, 1924 to J. O. and Evelyn Lillie Purcell Shaff, he was raised on the family farm in Shaffton, Iowa and attended Sodas grade school. He graduated from Clinton High School in 1942 where he was President of the student body.

Shaff was a military veteran who served in the U. S. Army-Air Corp during World War II in North Africa and Calcutta, India. He continued to serve in the reserves for several years following his honorable discharge from active duty.

On his return to the states in December of 1945, he enrolled at the University of Iowa where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate degrees. In 1950 he began practicing law in Clinton. In 1952, Shaff began his political career, successfully running for the Iowa State House of Representatives. Subsequently, he ran for and was elected to three terms in the Iowa State Senate, retiring in 1966. In 1963, he campaigned state-wide in support of a reapportionment plan which became known as the "Shaff Plan" and, while endorsed by groups like the League of Women Voters, it was opposed by the Des Moines Register and was defeated.

Shaff stayed active in politics and public service, serving as a delegate to the 1968 Republican National Convention and a member of the Iowa Highway Commission. He served on the Iowa State Bar Association Board of Governors and numerous bar association committees.

He served on the board of the Clinton YMCA, Clinton Rotary Club of which he was a Paul Harris Fellow, Jane Lamb Hospital where he was President, Clinton Public Library and the Armstrong-Curtis Foundation. He was also a member of the former Clinton Elks and Lions clubs.

Shaff led significant projects that benefitted the Clinton community, including the Helen Erickson Center, the riverfront bike path and numerous tennis facilities. He co-chaired the committee that brought Clinton a state-of-the-art outdoor swimming facility. He continued until recently to advocate for a new public library in Clinton.

Shaff retired from the practice of law in 1996.

In October of 1953, he married Lissi Petersen Cornell in Clinton, Iowa. They have four children, Karen (Steve Jayne) of Des Moines, J.O. of Bettendorf, IA, Martha (Tom) Licea of Le Claire, IA and Grace of Chicago, IL.

He is survived by: his wife; children; two grandchildren, Madeline and Chase Licea; a sister Jeanne Keiley of Fullerton, CA; two brothers, J. M. Shaff of Bettendorf, IA and James H. Shaff of Cedar Rapids, IA. He was preceded in death by his parents and four siblings, Roger Shaff, Martin Purcell, Donald Purcell and Lynn Turner.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at the First Presbyterian Church in Clinton, Iowa at 11 a.m. The family will meet guests at 10 a.m. at the church in Calvin Hall. He will be interned in the Shaffton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Clinton Public Library or the Iowa State Bar Foundation.

Published in Des Moines Register on Sept. 16, 2011
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