James O. Shaffer Sr., born November 19th 1934, died November 20th, 2022, of natural causes. He celebrated his 88th birthday the day before with all his family surrounding him.
Jim was the oldest of five children, born to Oscar and Velma Shaffer in Rupert, Idaho. He learned many work habits from his parents, later passing them on to his own children. He was proud to be a true Idahoan, raised on a farm, helping with farm chores and milking cows. The family moved to Fruitland, Idaho in 1948 and purchased a grocery store, gas station and cabins. Dad helped with operating the store and his first job was delivering the evening Statesman as a paper boy.
Dad and Joanne Bingaman of New Plymouth were married in 1955 in Fruitland at the Church of the Brethren. They had four children, Debbie, Pam, David and Jimmy. Joanne and he later divorced. In 1985, he met and married the love of his life, Carol Taylor.
Dad graduated from Fruitland High School in 1952. He went to Spokane, Washington, and enrolled in telegraph school. After graduating, he learned Morse Code and started working for the Union Pacific Railroad. He worked in depots from Weiser to Soda Springs, Idaho. He did billing of carloads of merchandise, wrote train orders, sold train tickets and sent telegraphs.
Dad soon learned this job wasn’t what he wanted to do forever. After ten years working night shifts, he attended Boise Junior College and Idaho State University to receive his education degree. He later attended College of Idaho and received his Master’s in Education to become an administrator for the Boise School District.
In 1963 Dad began working for the Boise School District teaching fifth and sixth grade. He did his student teaching at Campus and then taught at Pierce Park, Campus, Maple Grove and Cole. He was promoted to an Elementary Principal for 22 years before he retired. He was principal at Monroe, Collister, Jackson and Koelsch. He also spent ten summers teaching driver’s training to 14-17 year olds. Jim mentored, befriended, and impacted the lives of many students and parents. His positive influence was felt by all who knew him. Dad maintained relationships with many former students, enjoying the news and stories of their successes and families. Dad and his family could not visit any place in this valley without someone walking up to dad, smiling and shaking his hand, saying “I remember you, “you officiated my games,” “you were my principal” or “you taught me in driver’s training.” Dad touched many young people’s lives throughout his 30 years of education, through teaching, refereeing or being a principal.
Dad was always busy, working summer jobs and was a football and basketball referee for 25 years. He was involved in his childrens’ sports activities, coaching football, baseball and softball. He was a pitcher for slow pitch softball on the Red Rock Christian Church and Boise Friends Church for 25 years. He loved golfing and snow skiing with his wife, children and grandchildren. Dad also enjoyed traveling, playing cards, square dancing and was a member of Red Rock Christian Church and Boise Friends Church.
Dad contributed a lifetime of service to the community and was a member and officer of many organizations. He was on the BSU staff and taught student teachers. He was the first President of the Boise Association of School Principals, President of Phi Delta Kappa, Secretary of the teacher’s bowling league, Precinct Committeeman, State Legislative Chairman, and lifetime member of the State PTA.
Dad also enjoyed driving Boise Winnemucca bus tours to Jackpot, Elko and Las Vegas. He drove many buses with BSU fans to football games to Moscow, Reno, Salt Lake and Logan.
After Dad retired from education, he drove 18-wheelers for Willis Shaw and May Trucking. He was proud to say he visited or drove through all 48 states for five years waiting for Carol to retire. When Carol retired, they enjoyed traveling. They have many fond memories of trips to England, Denmark, Russia, Mexico, the Panama Canal, Alaska and Hawaii. They were also avid BSU football and basketball fans.
Dad loved his family and adored his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was very proud of their endeavors and accomplishments. He enjoyed watching them play their sports, music recitals, etc. He loved spending time golfing and skiing with them.
Dad had a passion for and loved babies, children, and animals. His children grew up loving ponies, dogs, goats and cats.
Dad enjoyed spending time with his wife, siblings and their families. Holidays and birthdays were always a happy time. Dad’s wife, Carol, had a very vivacious and outgoing personality which made for many spontaneous weekly games of golf, playing cards with neighbors and quick trips to Jackpot. Carol’s family and friends know her devotion toward our dad, her children and Dad’s children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Carol has a generous heart and wonderful sense of humor. She has been the constant in dad’s life, her love, faithfulness and grace were so appreciated and for that Dad’s children are eternally grateful.
Dad is survived by his wife, Carol. His children Debbie Griffith (Mike), Pam Leaton (Jeff), David (Erin) and Jim (Debi). Carol’s boys, Dan Taylor (Angie) and Drew Taylor (Rebecca). Grandchildren: Sari Stewart , Cory Griffith, (Mallory) Kira Muguira (Dan), Tanner Leaton (Ashley), Tim Hall, Jessica Trotta (Tony), Serena Shaffer (Maria), Laci Abair (Chris), Taylor Dahmer (Ross), Kiana Shaffer and Kain Shaffer (Shawnee). Logan and Kassidy Taylor and Lauren Pixley. Great-grandchildren: Hallie and Harper Stewart, Kash and Kaydnce Muguira, Ember and Riggs Leaton, Reagan Hall, Derek and Jase Page, Oliver Shaffer, and Ansel and Van Abair and Opal Dahmer. He is survived by his sister-in-laws, Judy Shaffer, Arlene Shaffer Lines, brother-in-law Jerry Ross and many nieces and nephews.
Dad was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Velma, sisters, Carol Shaffer and Nellie Mae Ross and brothers Kenneth Shaffer and Larry Shaffer.
A big shout out to Spring Creek Meridian Memory Care that took such special care of our dad the last three years!
Dad felt his epitaph would be, “Dad always did his best!” God did the rest!
“To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die, but leaves a wound that no one can heal, and a memory that no one can steal.”
A private family burial will be held at Morris Hill Cemetery.
Donations can be made to Boise Public School Foundation in dad’s name. boiseschoolsfoundation.com