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Lester George Schafer

December 5, 1923 July 27, 2020
Lester George Schafer
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Obituary for Lester George Schafer

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Short obituary:
Lester George Schafer, 96, died peacefully, July 27, 2020 in Caldwell, ID. We trust that his spirit is in heaven with our Father God and his Son Jesus Christ.
Born December 5, 1923 to Raymond Warren and Mabel Olive Schafer in Oklahoma City, OK. He was a WWII Navy Veteran, served on an aircraft carrier as a radar specialist.

Preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Charlotte; son Lynn; grandson Bart Bailey. Survived by daughters: Marilyn King, Carla Bailey, and Mary Schafer; 5 grandchildren, several great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter; and his brother Earl Schafer. He was dearly loved and will be deeply missed.

A life celebration with a reception following at 1:30 PM, Friday, August 7 at the Caldwell Free Methodist Church located at 3320 S Montana Avenue in Caldwell, 83605. An open mic will be had to share stories and memories of Lester George Schafer.

Partial full obituary:
Dad was born in Oklahoma City, OK on Dec. 5, 1923 and died on July 27, 2020 (96 years old) and went to be with the Lord Jesus, while living at Autumn Wind Assisted Living in the memory care unit in Caldwell, Idaho. His parents were Raymond Warren Schafer and Mabel Olive Schafer (Retherford) both from Kansas. Siblings: Warren, Gladys, Thelma, twin sisters who died as infants, June, Raymond and Earl (still living). They were a very hard working, strong, boisterous, fun loving, musical family who loved each other and Jesus, attending church regularly. They were taught to forgive and hug each other immediately, whenever there was conflict. Dad was quick to forgive all his life because of this lesson.

Early childhood: Dad was raised on a farm in Oklahoma, played & swam in a creek with siblings. He said he had a dog named “Pooch” who saved their lives more than once- when a Water Moccasin snake would swim toward the kids, Pooch would dive in, grab it by the neck & kill it.
Dad also told of one time when a mad dog with rabies kept trying to attack the kids on the porch, and Pooch kept knocking that dog off the steps several times by body slamming him. But Pooch knew not to bite or tangle with him. Dad talked about his first job delivering newspapers on a bicycle with a boy who was a couple years older. And how they would cut the coupons for Pepsi out of the papers before delivering them! Dad was around 11 or 12 years old.

Then Dad hitchhiked from Oklahoma City back to southwestern Colorado (the four corners area) north of Cortez, when he was 13 years old to live and work with his sister, Thelma & Dudd, on their farm in Arriola, CO. He told me that, while hitchhiking, a man picked him up who was going deer hunting in New Mexico and invited Dad to go along, which he did. Never having used a scope on a rifle before, Dad shot at a deer and the recoil gave him a black eye from the scope.
When Dad was middle aged, he almost had a detached retina. He ended up having an operation in order to save his eye, but he could never see well out of that eye again, which didn’t stop him from doing anything! Dad always thought the injury from the scope on the rifle was the cause of his later retina problem.

When Pop and Grandma Schafer and the rest of the kids moved out to Colorado, they bought a farm with an apple orchard, hogs, some cattle, chickens, and a couple of horses. Dad and his brothers and sisters, still living at home, worked on the farm one way or another.
Dad told about how his mother (Mabel) wanted a furnace in the old farmhouse instead of just using wood heat. So, when Dad’s folks left to visit relatives for a week or so, Dad, who was around 16 years old, decided to install the furnace under the house by himself. He dug under the house, hauling the dirt out using the farm horse. When his folks returned, they were shocked to find a new furnace installed!
Dad was always like that all his life. He could figure out how to do almost anything he put his mind to and had the drive, energy and focus to do it! He was not perfect and made and lost several fortunes because he would get impatient to move on to another project, another adventure!
Dad enlisted in the Navy during World War II, just before his 21st birthday. He served from September 9, 1944 until March 17, 1946. He was a radar specialist on a huge ship, which was an aircraft carrier with thousands of service men and numerous airplanes onboard.
He told me about an incident, while his ship was off the coast of Japan, where his ship and another aircraft carrier were not too far apart, and a Japanese Kamikaze suicide bomber chose to crash his plane into the other ship, destroying it and killing all onboard. That always made him sad but thankful to be alive, at the same time.
On a lighter note, Dad was very competitive, having grown up with brothers. And he was very strong, from working on the farm. He told how he became somewhat famous onboard the ship, as the “arm wrestling” champion on that ship, and how he could do one arm chin ups and one arm pushups! But mostly, he was proud of serving his country during World War II.
Shortly after Dad’s discharge from the Navy, he was on a date with another girl, when he met our Mom, Charlotte Alwyn Blake, in Durango, CO. Dad and this other girl were on a double date with Mom and her boyfriend. I guess the sparks really flew between Dad and Mom, because they flirted with each other all evening, which did not make either of their dates very happy!
But, they were married three short months later on June 30, 1946 in a double ceremony with Dad’s brother, Raymond and Paula, Mom’s close friend from the youth group at their church. And they were married 63 years until our Mom passed away in Feb. 2010.
Dad built their first little house out of blocks of mud (or sod) in Pop Schafer’s apple orchard. And he plastered and painted the outside. That was where their first child, our brother Lynn Ray, was born. They didn’t have indoor plumbing, but Dad said they were very much in love and happy.
Then Pop and Grandma Schafer bought an old Motel in Cortez, CO called the “Navaho Court”, which Dad helped Pop remodel, and built on a large addition as well.
Dad met Ray Andrews around this time when Ray was building a cemetery in Cortez, CO. And from that time forward, Mom and Dad became best friends with Ruth and Ray Andrews for life. When the Andrews moved to Mesa, Arizona, Dad and Mom moved down there, too. Of course, Dad’s sister June and Dub, and their family lived in Mesa, as well.
Dad and Mom didn’t live by Phoenix long because of the heat, and moved back to Cortez, where their first daughter, Marilyn, was born (2 years after Lynn). Three years later Carla was born. I think we moved somewhere again (but no one remembers where) and then moved back to Cortez where Mary was born two years Carla.
In 1956 we moved to Farmington, New Mexico and Dad, his younger brother, Raymond and their dad, Pop Schafer built “The Oasis Motel” from the ground up. Mom ran the motel for two years, even though they had us four small children, Lynn (9), Marilyn (7), Carla (4), and Mary (2). Dad did help with the motel at times, but he mainly worked carpentry jobs with his Dad and brother Raymond. He also went on two week hunting trips, on horseback, into the Colorado wilderness yearly (even before we moved) with Raymond and a cousin, Walt, where they shot deer and elk, which is the meat we ate growing up.
I remember so many things about the two years we lived there in Farmington. We explored a lot, smoked cigarette butts out of the gutters like the cowboys on TV! Ha, Ha! And had to choose our own willow switches when we got in trouble! We made a graveyard with crosses for all the dead birds, lizards, and my goldfish that died. We sang together and laughed a lot and I learned to read.
I also got my first tricycle and at 5 years old learned to ride Marilyn’s bike, as well.
Mary, (2 to 3 years old) pointed and cried to ride the Shetland ponies walking in a circle across the street. I was so glad she did cry because I got to ride the ponies also! Marilyn was allowed to walk down to the candy store because she was older, at 7 years old. And, she and Lynn got to ride their bikes a lot. Also, they both took piano lessons from a great teacher those two years there.
Something I will never forget was, at 5 years old, Dad helped me learn the entire song called “Tammy” (who Doris Day made famous) and Dad bribed me with a quarter (25 cents) to stand and sing the entire song by myself in front of several relatives, with no help or accompaniment! That was my first paying job!
We all drank a lot of bottled pop out of the pop machine because “kind” people would buy it for us, so, when we moved to Pocatello, Idaho, at 6 years old, I had six cavities, but I had very few after that. It’s a good thing we moved!
Our dear friends, Ruth and Ray Andrews and their kids moved to Pocatello, Idaho as we did. Dad bought 300 acres next to the mountains of the national forest, off Mink Creek Road across from Frazier’s Poultry Farm, about 10 miles outside of Pocatello. The Andrews lived about three miles from us and we did everything together. Uncle Raymond and Aunt Paula, and Aunt Thelma and Uncle Dudd and their families moved there, as well. We got to do a lot of fun things with them, too!
We had six horses (we rode most days after school), two dogs, and chickens! We thought we were in heaven. Mary was only 4 and cried to ride the horses, so Mom would tie one of the horses up and let her sit on him for hours with her legs sticking straight out and sucking her thumb! She was overjoyed!!
Dad subdivided all the property and named the roads after all of us girls, Charlotte Drive being the main road, of course. Our brother was out of luck! Dad proceeded to build the roads, put in septic systems, and dig all the trenches for the water lines, using his backhoe. Us kids walked in the deep trenches pretending we were mining for gold.
Dad also taught himself to draw house plans for custom built homes, which he built on the acreage over the years from the ground up, doing the plumbing and electrical work and everything else on those houses we lived in, as well as the brick work and the framing. He did hire one or two helpers at times.
Dad was truly an astounding and unique person- confident, adventurous, energetic, creative, talented, funny, loving, family man who always took our family to church, the movies, swimming, boating, camping, fishing, and on trips to see relatives.
He and Mom loved living life, loved Jesus, and loved each one of us kids and both of their families, all their lives. They appreciated the big things and the very small things, as well. Even though we were not a perfect family, we had great joy and wonderful adventures because of the incredible Godly heritage we inherited.
So, we sold our dream home on 300 acres after we went broke on the potato farm and we moved back to Colorado in Grand Junction in the summer of 1996. We lived with Uncle Raymond and Aunt Paula and our cousins that summer until Dad bought 10 acres with a tiny old house with 5 rooms.
Mom and Dad moved from a 17 room home with four teenagers into a 5 room 2 bedroom, one bath home! Marilyn, Mary, and I slept in one bedroom, Mom and Dad in the other, and Lynn slept on a bed in the living room. Lynn went his second year to Mesa Junior College, Marilyn was a senior at Central High School, I was a ninth grader, and Mary a seventh grader at Bookcliff Junior High.
What was so incredible was that Mom and Dad didn’t feel sorry for themselves even though Dad was 43 years old (Mom 39) and starting over financially. Dad spent ten years paying off his part of the debt from the Blackfoot farm. But because our parents were so upbeat, all of us kids learned a valuable lesson of not to ever feel sorry for ourselves and that God will help you do what you have to do in life, including starting over at any age! Mom sewed our clothes and made Mary and my cheerleading uniforms and my singing dresses for school concerts. They were amazing people!!
Marilyn graduated and married Lee King in Pocatello the next year and Lynn went to Denver University on an academic scholarship. So that left Mary and me to go through junior high and high school, although we moved after I graduated.
Dad bought 50 acres on ‘D’ road, subdivided and built and sold houses! We also took a crop of hay off the 10 acres we had and then planted cantaloupe. Us three girls sat outside and sold a lot of cantaloupe! We were bored and wanted a tan, so we laid out in our bikinis! Little did we know until someone told me years later, that guys came from all over the valley to buy cantaloupe! We just thought everyone loved cantaloupe!
After that time, Dad had a midlife crisis that almost split our family apart. But I thank God Mom forgave and they stayed married for 63 years. But, it profoundly affected Lynn, Mary, and me all our lives. Marilyn was very blessed to have married and moved before we all went through that terrible time of turmoil and heartache. But life moves on through all the highs and lows.
Dad had been asked to team up with two of his friends from Pocatello to start a chain of RV parks (which was a very novel concept in 1966) Dad turned them down because he’d lost so much money. But he did agree to build some campgrounds for them. They called them KOA Kampgrounds, and Dad’s two friends became multi- millionaires! Such is life!
All our family went to Durango, Co. in the summer of 1967 and built our first KOA Kampground. All of us kids and Mom helped insulate, paint, and whatever else we could do. Then the next summer, we built the KOA in Grand Junction.
Dad and Mom bought agerage 15 minutes from Aspen, CO in a little town called Basalt on the Roaring Fork River. In the Spring of 1970, they built a third KOA and mobile home park, with Lynn’s help.
They actually left Mary and me alone at the house in Grand Junction to finish my senior year, which really was not a good idea. When I graduated, Mary and I moved to Basalt. I went on to college at Colorado State University on a 4 year acedemic scholarship, went one year, and met and married Chuck Stiehr, after we hitchhiked to Toledo, Ohio. Mary finished high school in Basalt and graduated from Steamboat Springs HS, after she married Danny Jorgenson.
Dad bought a cabin and acreage in Missoula, Montana at the end of Grant Creek Road. Then, Chuck and I, and Mary and her husband moved onto that property. Mom and Dad never lived there but later, Marilyn and Lee moved onto that property, as well. When Dad sold it, he made a good profit, as he always did, but the next people made the real money, which always happened! He and his best friend Ray Andrews were always buying and selling property.
Dad was a great visionary and bought amazing property with tremendous potential but in his own words he said, “I had a lot of energy and always got restless and had to move on”, usually to start a new project.
When Mom and Dad sold the KOA campground in Basalt, they bought a small mobile home park in Burley, Idaho, then sold that and moved to Eagle, Idaho just outside of Boise.
Dad proceeded to build another “dream home” on 5 acres in 1976 off of Beacon Light Road on Valli-Hi Road. Lynn had been married to Twilla Cockran in Basalt, but divorced and moved to Eagle where he helped Dad build. Mary had divorced and moved to Eagle with her only daughter, Sabrina. I had gotten divorced and been playing music for a living in Montana, Alaska, Hawaii, and the western USA. Then moved to the Boise area, as well. Marilyn and Lee had three children and had moved many times because Lee was in the Army but settled in the town of Missoula for many years.
Dad got restless once again, and Dad, Mom, and Lynn moved to the area around Denton, Texas by Dad’s brother Earl who was married to Mom’s sister, Ginny. He made a very poor investment in a business where he lost money. And after only a couple of years, they all moved back to Nampa, Idaho, where he bought a small house with acreage on Garrity Blvd just off Interstate 82.
I had married Jerry Bailey and we raised our twins, Brandy and Bart, in Baker City, Oregon where we lived for 19 years. After we divorced, Dad and Mom would come over once a month, so Dad could sing with me, my 11 year old twins, Bart and Brandy, along with my dear friend and ‘brother,’ George Rau, at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center from the Grand Opening in 1992-1995. We did a pioneer act called “Willa and the Buffalo Chips” in a 100 seat theater and also for tour groups.
Dad was amazing, in the fact that at the age of 69 years old, he could learn to perform live, while singing, playing his harmonica, and acting! Who does a brand new thing at 69 years old. Our Dad did! It is remarkable that over 300,000 people came from all over the world to the Center in the first year.
Mom video taped our performances and when we recorded my second album called “Westward Ho! Let the Wagon Train Roll!” at a studio in Ontario, Or., we then spliced the live audience responses in between songs. We sold cassettes at the Center store while we performed there.
This was during the time Dad and Mom lived on Garrity Blvd in Nampa. But then Dad turned that house into a Tanning Salon, which didn’t do well and he ended up selling it. The people he sold it to, sold it to McDonalds a couple of years later and really made some money!!
Dad also bought a small trailer park in Nampa, which was a great investment!
But they moved to a house not far away on 32nd Street in Nampa for a year or so. Then in 1998, Dad and Mom went in with Mary and Doug, and Marilyn and Lee and purchased 50 acres off Hwy 95 seven miles north of Council, Idaho. They subdivided that property between them in the year 2000, and Mom and Dad moved into a mobile home on their property. Marilyn and Lee moved by Mom and Dad and lived in their camper on their property shortly afterward.
Mary and her husband, Doug Hanneman never did move to Council because they had a house in Nampa, Idaho and then moved to Caldwell.
Mom’s health was very bad in Council, so Marilyn and Lee bought their place, where they still live today. And Dad traded the small mobile home park in Nampa for property on Proctor Lane in Marsing, Idaho close to the Snake River, where they put a new double wide mobile home on a foundation. They moved there in the fall of 2002 with Lynn living with them.
My son, Bart (20), was fighting wildland fires in the summers, while going to Oregon State University. But, when he was killed on his way to fight the Hayman Fire in Colorado in June of 2002, I moved from Phoenix, AZ where I was working back to Idaho to help Dad take care of Mom for the next eight years.
But in 2007, they had sold the Marsing property and we bought an acre of land together (with a house that Mom, Dad and Lynn moved into) in Caldwell, Idaho, in order to be closer to all Mom’s doctors.
Our dear bother Lynn died of a long term illness at Mom and Dad’s house in 2008.
And our dear beloved Mom died in 2010 at the age of 83 of diabetic complications. We were all heartbroken. I continued to help Dad, as much as I could.
Dad was so grieved that he struggled to want to live. Fortunately, after a couple of years, he met Rose Troph a few years later at the Caldwell Senior Center. And once again, he was happy. They were together for about five years. We all sang and played music together and played pool in Dad’s garage a lot. They went to the Senior dances, as well and she we all loved her.
Then Dad had a car fender bender about once a year for four years in a row, when he had been an incredibly good driver. The worst wreck occurred in 2016, when he totaled his Cadillac by running into the back of a stopped truck with a camper on it. He made sure they were alright but left the scene of the accident. When the police stopped him and pulled him over, he was very confused.
So, he lost his drivers license, and even though he was still living in his house, he would forget all kinds of things like leaving the stove on, etc. All of us started to realize he was getting dementia.
I was in Australia going to Bible College in 2016 when Dad started getting robbed all the time. And when someone came in and were trying to steal his safe out of the bedroom while he was asleep in his chair in the living room, Marilyn and Mary knew something had to be done. Even though the police were called, they never had any leads.
So, my dear sisters had to make the hard decision to move Dad to two different assisted living places toward the end of 2016, while I was overseas. They also had deal with Dad’s home and possessions, which was quite a challenge.
Dad lived at Autumn Wind Assisted Living where he made lots of friends and everyone loved him. And where he was safe and well cared for.
I was very thankful that Mary and Doug had him over to their house many times and Marilyn drove the two hours down to see him many times and take him to his doctor appointments, while I was in Bible College for two years, until I graduated in May of 2018 and while I was gone to Texas for four months the beginning of 2019.
I was thankful to be able to visit Dad 2-3 times a week most of 2018 and since May of 2019 and also sing for all of them at Autumn Wind about once a week until the recent pandemic.
Dad was moved into the memory care unit right after the lockdown from the Covid 19 situation. He wanted to be with Jesus for a very long time and died peacefully on July 27, 2020. He led a wonderful, rich, and blessed life for 96 years and we loved him dearly as he loved us. We will miss him more than we could ever say.
Praise God for his life, love, joy, humor, affection, energy, talent and for touching so many people by live to the fullest! Thank you Jesus!


















is now at peace in heaven

Previous Events

Service

Friday

7

Aug

1:30 PM 8/7/2020 1:30:00 PM
Caldwell Free Methodist Church

3320 South Montana Avenue
Caldwell, ID 83605

Burial will take place on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Caldwell Free Methodist Church
3320 South Montana Avenue Caldwell 83605 ID
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Idaho State Veterans Cemetery Final Resting Place

10100 Horseshoe Bend Road
Boise, ID

10100 Horseshoe Bend Road Boise ID
United States
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