John "Jack" T. Schafer
July 16, 2020
Jack Schafer was born, raised and died in Scottsbluff, NE. He was 95 years old.
Family and friends will remember him with great fondness. That twinkle in his eye was his trademark and a joy to all who knew him. Jack and his wife, Jodene shared decades of a loving and special marriage. Theirs was truly a love story. He was fiery and impulsive and she grounded and supported him.
Jack owned and operated Schafer Elevator until his son took the reins. Nobody knows for sure when he retired because until the last few years he was a familiar figure at the Elevator. He truly enjoyed reminiscing with his old customers and meeting the new ones.
Jack was always a kid at heart. Every so often that twinkle in his eye turned into a twinkle in both eyes, and we all knew that the fun was about to begin. The kids got excited wondering what shenanigans he was up to. There was plenty of roughhousing and many pranks. We remember setting off fireworks--they were the "special" ones from Wyoming which may or may not have been a bit illegal and they were spectacular.
He was our resident Santa and he was convincing. Older kids giggled as Santa talked to the younger ones. Being in on the charade was a rite of passage in our family. In his younger years Jack enjoyed duck hunting and rumor had it that his blind was located at one of the best spots in the county.
He had a dog he called Duke. Duke loved hunting as much as his master did. "That damn dog would fetch until he dropped, and with a smile on his face," Jack would say. After many hours in the cold the two of them would return home and even the smell of wet dog didn't deter Jack from hugging Duke and whispering, "Good dog. I love you, boy." They were the epitome of a man and his dog.
At Schafer Elevator Jack sold anything a farmer could need, including animal food. Jack had a close relationship with one of his supplying salesmen who talked him into getting a sow to feed the new super duper food he was selling. It was to be a demonstration of the quality of the new food. The hope was that farmers would be amazed and buy the food. So, he got a sow and named her Magnolia. He built a makeshift pen at the old location just west of Broadway on Railroad Avenue. Magnolia got the new super duper hog food and began growing at break-neck speed. All were very impressed. Late one Tuesday afternoon in late August Magnolia delivered 11 squealing piglets and slimmed right down. Now Jack had a skinny sow and a full dozen pigs. Things went along fairly well but it was an especially hot summer. Apparently, Magnolia got uncomfortable during the night and somehow managed to break down the pen, freeing her and every one of her offspring. The phone rang in the middle of the night. It was the police informing Jack that there were a whole bunch of pigs running around south Broadway. It took several hours for the police and Jack to round them up but by dawn they had Magnolia and 10 of the piglets in tow. The next day the eleventh one showed up at the front door of a local bar. Of course, everyone knew about the great pig escape by then and the bartender knew exactly where to take the piglet. The day after that Magnolia and her piglets moved on to their new farm lives and Jack decided to stick with dogs and cats.
Jack touched many young lives during his time as coach of numerous little league baseball teams. He valued his relationship with each of the dozens of kids he coached. They loved him and he loved them. He made sure each understood just how special they were.
Jack's lawn was of utmost importance to him. and he had arguably the greenest grass of all. Eventually he painted the tree trunk and telephone pole white. In his mind they added interest and set off his lawn beautifully.
To Jack, "Go Big Red" was serious business. He and Jodene had many lively conversations as they armchair coached. "Well," he would say when they lost, "I guess the sun will come up tomorrow but it's bound to be cloudy." It usually was.
Jack was a devoted member of St. Agnes Catholic Church. He would want you to know that he had a close relationship with God and enjoyed the support of many priests and nuns.
Jack truly loved his family, and friends. He wouldn't want you to be sad at his passing. He would want you to celebrate his life with all the good memories so many of us have. Jack lived a long and full life and he lived it with passion. We've been back to Wyoming and the skies will light up one more time as we share whisky toasts and memories. To a life well lived - Here's to you, Jack. RIP.