Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
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Wayne E. Shaffer, 1922-2012: Longtime Bryan lawyer served in Navy in WWII

BRYAN -- Wayne E. Shaffer, a lawyer in practice for 55 years and an Ohio Board of Education member who when he retired after 37 years was the sole original member, died Tuesday in his Bryan home.

He was 89 and had Parkinson's disease.

He retired from his practice several years ago.

"He considered his profession to be a very high calling," said Elaine Webster, his longtime secretary. "He wanted to serve people."

His client base was diverse. An executive's appointment might be followed by a visit from someone of modest means.

"That never bothered him. He treated them all the same," said John Shaffer, a nephew in practice with Mr. Shaffer for more than 25 years. "He gave it his all, regardless of their status in life.

"Wayne took the time. He didn't talk at you. He'd talk with you."

Mr. Shaffer and his brother, Stanley, were veterans of World War II -- he of the Navy and his brother of the Army, and both were educated through the GI Bill, Stanley's son, John, said.

"They never forgot that. They valued education very much," he said. Mr. Shaffer's late brother went on to become superintendent of the Stryker Local Schools.

Mr. Shaffer was just 30 when he was president of the Community Schools Association of Ohio. When the state board of education was organized four years later, Mr. Shaffer became a member. He was re-elected thereafter, but in 1992 chose not to run again. He served at least two terms as the state board's president.

He was a former president of the National Association of School Boards of Education.

He was born June 25, 1922, in Wauseon to Leva and Chalmer Shaffer. He was president of his 1940 graduating class at Wauseon High School and still organized yearly luncheon reunions. He was a law graduate of Ohio Northern University, where he was an undergraduate. He later was on the university's board of trustees.

He was a founder and former board chairman of the Bryan Community Foundation. He was on the boards of Community Hospitals of Williams County and of the Ohio Art Co.

He and his wife for years had a second home in Florida and traveled regularly to Paris. He appreciated good food and wine -- and jokes, limericks, and yarns.

"He was a good storyteller," Mrs. Webster said.

He was a former Ohio Educator of the Year and Bryan Citizen of the Year.

He and his wife, Georgia, married in 1949. She died in 2010.

Surviving are his daughter, Julie Anne Shaffer, and a granddaughter.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Wesley United Methodist Church, Bryan, where he was a member. Arrangements are by Krill Funeral Service, Bryan.

The family suggests tributes to the church or to Hospital Hospice of Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers of Williams County, Bryan.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.

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