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Robert Howard Shaffer

1915 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Robert Howard Shaffer Obituary

Robert Howard Shaffer, of New Smyrna Beach, FL, Professor Emeritus in the Schools of Education and Business at Indiana University, passed away peacefully on April 21, at the age of 101.

Born September 13, 1915 in Delphi, Indiana, to John W. and Bessie Hall Shaffer, he graduated in 1936 from DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, where he received his A. B. in history. He was a member of DePauw's Athletic Hall of Fame as a quarterback on the 1933 football team, which was undefeated, untied, and un-scored-upon. He earned his M.A. degree in guidance from Teacher's College, Columbia University, and his Ph.D. degree in higher education from New York University in 1945. He was awarded LLD degrees from DePauw in 1976 and from Indiana University in 1985.

An Eagle Scout, he worked as a professional staff member of the Boy Scouts of America for five years in New York City, after which he began his 40-year academic career at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, interrupted only by his service in the U.S. Army from 1943-1945. His administrative positions at I.U. included dean of students and chairman of the departments of student personnel and higher education. His professional activities included leadership positions in several national organizations in the field of student affairs, from which he received numerous honors and awards. The IU Class of 1967 created the Robert H. Shaffer Chair in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Shaffer, an energetic, caring person, who embraced life and saw the best in everyone, loved to help others grow. In a 1986 article in the Journal of Counseling and Development, Professors George D. Kuh and Michael D. Coomes noted, "Everybody who knows Bob admires and respects him. For over five decades - as a counselor, dean of students, faculty member, professional association leader, international consultant - Bob has pursued a simple but important goal: To encourage the personal and professional development of those with whom he has contact. Throughout the world there are thousands of former students, staff members, and professional associates - all of whom he considers friends - who have been touched by Bob's enthusiasm and commitment to human development." And in response to their question about how he would want to be remembered, Shaffer said simply, "I would like to be remembered as an individual who helped others be better than they would have been if they hadn't met me."

Shaffer continued to serve throughout his life. Until recently, he sat on the board of the Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum of New Smyrna Beach. One of his favorite pieces of advice was, "Do good whenever an opportunity is presented."

Survivors include his loving wife of 27 years, Dr. Joye Coy Shaffer; his son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Lynn Shaffer, of Cape Elizabeth, ME; a daughter-in-law, Margaret Vegeler, of Fort Wayne, IN; stepsons John Coy of East Amherst, NY, and William Coy of Nashville, TN; stepdaughters Connie Coy Weeks of Orlando, FL and Teri Coy McLean of Gainesville, FL; their spouses; two grandchildren, Derek Shaffer and Ryan Shaffer; four great grandchildren; eight step grandchildren; and two step great grandchildren. His first wife, Marjorie Fitch Shaffer, to whom he was married for 47 years, and a son, Bruce W. Shaffer, who died in the Viet Nam war, preceded him in death.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Coronado Community United Methodist Church, 201 South Peninsula Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, FL, on May 20 at 2 pm, with Reverend Laura Berg officiating.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Shaffer Quality of Student Life Fund in the Dean of Students Office at Indiana University, in care of the I. U. Foundation, State Road 46 Bypass, Bloomington, IN 47401, or to the scholarship fund at the Coronado United Methodist Church, 201 S Peninsula Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169.

The family expresses its gratitude to the staff of Halifax Health Hospice of Edgewater, FL, and the South East Hospice team of Halifax Health, which assisted with skilled and loving care near the end of his life, and to Paul Eberle, who assisted with his daily care.

Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Apr. 30, 2017
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