Michael Anthony Shaffer
December 21, 1971 - August 25, 2014
A Resident of Santa Cruz
Michael Anthony Shaffer, AKA "Big Mike", passed away peacefully after a courageous yearlong battle with brain cancer with his wife, Beth, by his side. Mike was 42 years old. Very happily married for 15 years, Mike leaves behind his wife and two beautiful daughters, Hannah (12) and Kylee (9). Mike was a fantastic daddy and his girls meant the world to him. He valiantly battled what he knew to be terminal cancer to stretch every possible moment out of his life and spend as much time loving his girls as possible. He wanted to teach his girls, "We may get knocked down but we NEVER give up." In one year Mike endured a brain biopsy, 2 brain tumor resection surgeries awake with speech mapping, 3 different types of chemotherapy medications, and 6 weeks of radiation treatment. He faced each battle bravely with a never give up attitude the entire time, only taking his last breath after Beth told him it was ok to let go.
Mike also leaves behind his parents, Albert Shaffer and Donna Streeter, his parents in law Lee and Marjori Ericson, his sisters Diane Spisla and Christy Jo Thomas, Grandmas, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Nieces, Nephews, the SMP, and countless friends. Mike had a HUGE heart. If he knew you, if he liked you, you were family and that meant you could count on him no matter what.
Mike was extremely proud to have served his country. He was a paratrooper, 82nd Airborne, Bco 2/504 and a Gulf War combat veteran. He held his brother's in the Airborne community close to his heart and lived daily to honor the fallen. "Strike Hold." After serving, the love of jumping stuck with him and he actively pursued becoming a licensed sports parachutist. He was also an avid disc golfer and cribbage player traveling with his buddies, "SMP", to play in yearly tournaments.
Always a sports nut, Mike caught every San Francisco Giants and 49er game possible, although the Washington Redskins were always his #1 football team. Unable to sit still and watch from the sidelines Mike coached softball through Scotts Valley Girls Softball and went on to coach Scotts Valley's 8U competitive travel team, Trouble. Kind and patient, mixed with a whole lot of funny and crazy, the girls flocked to him, Coach Mike was fantastic! He wanted the girls to understand the strategy behind the game, to know, love and respect the game and most of all have fun playing. Per his wishes we will celebrate his life at the fields he loved so much, Siltanen Park, Scotts Valley on Saturday, September 6th at 2 p.m. Anyone who loved him is more than welcome and encouraged to attend.
Mike LOVED the ocean and grew up surfing in Santa Cruz, CA. He insisted both his girls participate in Jr. Guards to learn about the ocean and safety and he was beyond proud both his girls started surfing this past summer. He found peace at the beach and spent countless hours watching the water and walking the sand. He chose the ocean to be his final resting place. A private scattering of his ashes will take place aboard the Velocity Sunday, September 7th at approx. 6:30 PM and may be witnessed from the Pleasure Point cliffs by 35th Avenue.
Mike's big personality, contagious smile, and love for life, family, and friends will truly be missed. He touched each and every one of us and we will hold him in our hearts until the day we meet again.
Love you bunches and bunches forever and ever. Rest in peace my love. Don't forget you promised to visit me in my dreams. Know you did an excellent job surrounding your girls with love and support, the perimeter is secure.
In lieu of flowers donations to Mike's go-fund-me account are greatly appreciated.http://www.gofundme.com/3yb3m0
If you would like to send your condolences to Mike's family, share your memories, light a candle in his memory please visit www.scmemorial.com
Published by Santa Cruz Sentinel on Sep. 4, 2014.