Richard “Dick” D. Shaffer

Richard (Dick) Duane Shaffer, 77, of Lawrence, died January 14, 2020, at Brandon Woods Assisted Living from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. He was born December 30, 1942, to Cecil Ray and Virginia Fuller Shaffer, in Wichita Falls, TX, where his father served in the Air Force. After returning to the family home in Pratt, KS, at the age of one month, Dick grew up in Pratt, KS, graduating from Pratt High School in the class of 1960. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. He received a Ph.D. degree in 1972 from Iowa State University in Organic Chemistry. He was awarded a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Kansas with Dr. Takeru Higuchi beginning in 1972. After that he remained in Lawrence where he worked as a senior research scientist at Interx, and then Merck Research Laboratories until 1995. He also was employed as a senior research scientist at Oread Labs for 5 years.

On February 26, 1966, he married Harriet Ellen Will at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lawrence, after meeting her in an honors economics class at KU. She survives as do their children, Susie (Mark) Fagan, Lawrence; Steve (Katie) Shaffer, Plano, TX; and Carol (Brian) Birnbaum, Leawood, KS. He is also survived by six grandchildren: Erin and Max Fagan, Ryann and Matthew Shaffer, and Andrew and Meghan Birnbaum, who were all a joy in his life. He is also survived by a brother, Robert (Linda) Shaffer, Cascade, CO; and two sisters, Pat Owens, Lawrence; and Phyllis McCart, Wichita, KS; a sister-in-law, Janet Will (Gene) Nuse, Fayette, MO; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and two nephews.

Dick was active in the Lawrence youth sports community, coaching baseball at DCABA and the Holcom League, as well as coaching soccer in the beginning years of KVSA. He served on the Board of Directors of YSI in numerous roles and worked very hard to make the current youth soccer fields a reality. He enjoyed golfing on any golf course he could find. Later in life, he took up playing duplicate bridge, which he had enjoyed in college. He spent many competitive hours at the Lawrence Duplicate Bridge Club. He was a true Jayhawk and Royals fan as well as a fan of his grandchildren’s activities.

He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and was famous there for precisely cooking the corn at the annual Corn Fest. Memorials may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, to LMH Endowment in care of Parkinson’s classes, or to the ERC (Employee Recognition Committee at BW), in care of Warren McElwain Mortuary. Parkinson’s Disease took away many of the things Dick enjoyed in his life, but he remained stoic and displayed a sense of humor through all the ups and downs of the disease. He received kind and considerate care from Brandon Woods Assisted Living staff, Keep Living at Home staff, and, in his last days, VNA Hospice.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 25. Friends may visit with family on Friday, January 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Warren McElwain Mortuary or at a Celebration of Life event on January 25 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Smith Center, Brandon Woods.


5 Condolences

  1. Peggy Coverdale on January 16, 2020 at 9:25 am

    We’re happy to hear that Dick’s passage to heaven was a peaceful one. We’re thinking of all of you and hoping family memories help ease this difficult time. Per your message in your Christmas card, we thought it would be fun to come meet you guys for lunch. As often is true in life, we’re sorry we didn’t do it sooner. Alan & Peg Coverdale

  2. Joe Bob Lake, Class of 1960 Pratt High School on January 19, 2020 at 12:44 am

    My memories of Dick are truly positive in all aspects. Dick was a close friend during our years together at Pratt High School. Dick was at the top of our class academically and he was generous with his time to help classmates who needed a bit of tutoring, especially in the math and science areas. When I received an appointment to West Point it was Dick who took math and science classes with me at the Junior College during our senior year in high school and helped me immensely with homework. Thanks to Dick I was prepared for the tough classes at West Point my first year.

  3. Dareld and Martha Abright on January 19, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Our Sincere Sympathy to the Dick Shaffer Family on the Passing of their Loved One.
    May the Good Lord have Mercy and watch over All of You.

    Your loving Neighbors Dareld and Martha Albright

  4. Carlotta Hemphill on January 24, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Harriet, l am so sorry to hear of Dick’s passing. I am keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  5. Reece Wiley on January 24, 2020 at 11:41 am

    I only knew Dick recently. I found him to be a man who moved to Lawrence and became a fixture at KU–both at sporting events and in the chemistry department, Lawrence Youth Sports, and Trinity Lutheran Church. He never stopped being interested in watching KU basketball and football; it was a joy to watch him follow the games in real time. He’s the ‘end of an era’; we don’t find men like him any more.

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