Donald "Don" Carl Schaffer, 86, a well-known man formerly of Payson, IL and currently of Quincy, IL, passed away peacefully at 2 a.m. Monday, January 11, 2021 at his home. He was surrounded by his beloved wife, son, and daughter at the time of his passing.
A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, January 15, 2021, at Payson Congregational Church in Payson, IL. Rev. L.D. Grant and Rev. Steve Disseler will officiate. Burial will follow in Payson New Cemetery.
A visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14, 2021 at Payson Congregational Church.
Illinois COVID-19 guidelines will be followed, including requiring face masks and social distancing.
The family is being served by the O'Donnell-Cookson Life Celebration Home in Quincy.
Don was born September 9, 1934, in Quincy, IL to Carl H. and Mabel E. (Chapman) Schaffer.
He married Darlene Shupe on June 9, 1956 at Trinity Church in Quincy. She survives.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by one son, Bill Schaffer (Jenny) of Lima, IL; one daughter, Donna Winters (Doug) of St. Louis, MO; two grandchildren, Billy Schaffer (Jenna) of Quincy, IL and Casie Ross (Andrew) of Gotha, FL; two step-grandchildren, John Grassmuck of Quincy, IL and Michelle Grassmuck of Payson, IL; three great-grandchildren, Sawyer, Grant, and Wren Schaffer of Quincy, IL; two step-great-grandchildren, Jerzie Wolfe of Quincy, IL and Scarlet Grassmuck of Quincy, IL; one sister, Judy Evans of Champaign, IL; one brother-in-law, Bob Shupe (Janice) of Lima, IL; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Mabel Schaffer; his infant daughter, Sally; and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Bob and Hazel Shupe.
Don was a 1952 graduate of Payson Seymour High School. He was on the Seymour High School basketball team and was also in many high school plays. Don went on to attend Gem City Business College.
Don went into the 6-month program for the United States Army Reserves during the Korean War and was stationed in Fort Chaffe, Arkansas. Each summer, he went to summer camp for two weeks in Wisconsin but thankfully Don's unit was never called to duty.
Don's father built Payson's first firehouse and as a young boy, Don was responsible for keeping the fire going daily to keep the fire engines warm. For many years, Don and his father were also responsible for answering calls on a dedicated phone line whenever there was a fire in the community; this was a 24/7 responsibility and they were responsible for sounding the city fire siren to notify the community of a fire. The siren was also manually sounded in the community every day at noon by either Don or one of the workers at the service station. He served 27 years on the Payson Volunteer Fire Department until he moved out of the village of Payson and into the country near Fall Creek. Don was also the first fireman to become an EMT.
In addition to the firehouse, Don and his father also did many other jobs for the community of Payson. After college, Don went into business with his father as part-owner and operator of Schaffer's Mobil Service station. His father was owner of the school buses of Payson Community Unit #1, for which Don was a substitute bus driver for 20 years. They also owned Schaffer and Sons Trucking service together, plus had an ice house from which they delivered ice to people in Payson for their freezers.
In 1960, Don began carrying mail as a substitute rural carrier. In 1975, he was appointed sub clerk and had a dual appointment as a sub clerk and sub carrier until 1978. At that time, he became the regular rural letter carrier until he retired in 1998. As a mail carrier, Don enjoyed delivering mail to his many friends in the community and their dogs as well. He would laugh at some of the many "surprises" he would find in the mailboxes, such as straw, rocks, sticks, soda cans, flowers, and even live chickens. His favorite surprises were the many delicious treats that people would leave him as thank you gifts for his hard work and dedication. Don was a member of the Rural Letter Carrier Association until the time of his death.
After retiring from the Post Office, he worked for Hesco's, delivering car parts around the local area.
Don also had a variety of other jobs throughout the years. He worked for Bill Cosgrove Funeral Home for 16 years and was a one-man driver of the hearse to transport deceased people to the funeral home. At that time, the hearse was also the ambulance and he would transport the sick and injured to the hospital. During harvest season, Don would drive a grain truck for his brother-in-law, Bob Shupe. He also served as treasurer on the Payson Village Town Board for 11 years. While on the board, he was able to assist in bringing Northern Gas to Payson.
Don was a member of the Payson Congregational Church and was president of the couples club there. He loved the church's many soup suppers, ice cream socials, and church dinners, where he would often serve coffee and visit with members of the community whom he also considered friends. Don's faith and love of Jesus Christ, our Savior, was demonstrated by his service as a deacon, trustee, and faithful churchgoer.
In his spare time, Don's favorite activity was traveling the country with his wife and family. Although he loved his children, they often could not seem to get along throughout trips, so he was tempted many times to leave them in a remote location along the way so that he and his bride could have some peace and quiet. Don's favorite places to see were Hawaii, California, Alaska, British Columbia, Colorado, and Wyoming. He enjoyed the beautiful sights of the mountains in Colorado and would visit friends frequently on their ranch in the mountains. Don loved helping his lifelong friend with caring for his longhorn cattle and doing any odd jobs on the ranch to keep him busy. He always left loved ones with a "See ya later alligator" or "I'll see ya in the funny papers."
In 2019, Don was honored for his 50 years of service with the Masonic Lodge. He served as past master of Payson Lodge several times.
Don was known for his love of his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and his many pets throughout his life. He will be remembered for his love of community, country, and God.
Pallbearers will be Billy Schaffer, John Grassmuck, Dean Shupe, Darren Shupe, Mike Evans, and Doug Winters.
Honorary pallbearer will be Scott Evans.
Memorial contributions may be made to Blessing Hospice or Payson New Cemetery's mowing fund.
Online condolences may be shared and a video tribute may be viewed at ODonnellCookson.com.