Celebration of My Life

John Jay Shaffer                              Celebration of Life

Born November 23, 1937    Ludlow, Illinois (Harwood Township)

Died:   _______________________________________

A service of Death and Resurrection (UMH 870)




Hymn No. 2051  “I Was There To Hear Your Borning Cry”


Scripture   Psalm 130

Special Music   “On Eagle’s Wings”

Celebration of Life (Obituary)

Remembering the Life of John Jay Shaffer  (just trying to be helpful)

John Jay Shaffer was born on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 1937, which was a source of personal satisfaction, especially on those years when his birthday and Thanksgiving coincided.  He was the youngest of four boys, the sons of George H and Bernice Hope Radley Shaffer.  In his older years, he celebrated two birthdays:  his legal one on November 23rd and his real one on November 25th.  The doctor made a mistake on the birth certificate and no one caught until I checked the actual date of Thanksgiving in 1937 on my computer.

John graduated from Rantoul Township High School in 1955 and then attended Illinois Wesleyan University, a Liberal Arts school in Bloomington, Illinois. After deciding to be an United Methodist minister, he graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. During a two week period in 1962, John and his wife Barbara shared in graduation exercises at Garrett, Ordination at Jacksonville, Illinois, marriage (also at Garrett’s chapel) and commissioning as missionaries at Danville, Illinois. Then it was off to Alaska for three years, which became thirty three years, the longest period of pastoral service of any United Methodist pastor on record. They served in six different locations there (Kenai, Chugiak, Juneau-Douglas, Nome, Anchorage and Sitka), deciding to end their career in the State of Washington. They were fortunate enough to be assigned to a church of the South Hill of Spokane known as Manito, where they had five happy years of service. Then, when retirement did not look as attractive, they were assigned to Stanwood and Camano island, where they served for eight years.

Highlights of ministry have been detailed in various ways and in various places. Time has a way of changing them. Life was very good to him, with opportunities far beyond his wildest dreams: summer experiences in Detroit, Michigan, and Moose Pass, Alaska came before his marriage.  Then there has been travel to Africa, the Holy Land, China and England prior to retirement.  There were many nature experiences in varous parts of Alaska and enough national and international church experiences to satisfy him.

Here are some of the things about which John was most proud.

-Assisting in naming a state educational facility in Nome after an Eskimo educator: Arthur Nagozruk, Sr.

-Shaking up the Nome establishment over the issue of alcohol abuse and then surviving the experience.

-Maintaining a liberal position on many theological issues at a time when there was pressure to be something else in order to get along with powerful forces who were trying to narrow the appropriate faith stance in society.

-Supporting his wife in many of her stimulating activities in the wider national church organization.  Establishment of a scholarship in her name at Alaska Pacific University was the first of many such opportunities.  Now we have scholarships for Congo students and students at Claremont School of Theology in both of our names.  We have been blessed.

-Participating in some good camping experiences at six different locations during his lifetime of ministry, highlighted by six years as the camp committee chair at Hope, Alaska.

-Helping to broaden the idea of many individuals as to what was considered appropriate ministerial demeanor and ideas.

-Doing some writing and publishing, even on a small scale.

-Having quality relationships (friendships) in each place where he was privileged to live and serve.

-Of course, the major highlight (besides marriage to Barbara) was catching a 57 pound King Salmon in Sitka Sound during the summer of 1994. He was fulfilled and  ready to die and to go to heaven. The subsequent years have just been bonus time.


Newspaper Example Follows:

John Jay Shaffer (age ____) died at _______________________________ on ______________________ .

Born on November 23, 1937 (actually November 25, 1937-the doctor made a mistake and no one caught it. There was consistent family lore than John was born on Thanksgiving Day) at home on a farm near Ludlow, Illinois to his parents: George H and Bernice Hope Radley Shaffer. Graduated from Rantoul Township High School, Rantoul, Illinois, Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He was elected to the Honorary Society of Phi Kappa Phi, but his main claim to fame was being neither tardy nor absent during four years of high school.  After 51 years of service as an United Methodist minister, he retired in the year 2008. He served as a pastor in Illinois, Alaska and Washington, serving 33 years as a Missionary in Alaska, the longest term of (United) Methodist pastoral service in the history of that state. He was elected as the first voting clergy delegate to General Conference of the United Methodist Church from the Alaska Missionary Conference in 1980. He was a member of Rotary, Lions and Toastmasters at various times in his life. He is survived (or not) by his wife of _____ years, Barbara Marian Dadd Shaffer, also of Auburn, Washington.   He had three brothers (Paul, Wayne and Lee), Paul and Lee preceded him in death.  Memorial Services will be held on ____________________ at or near Auburn, WA at Wesley Homes, Lea Hill  (fill in the place) with free pizza following, if available. Memorial contributions may be made to:  PET (Hand Bike) and Jamaa Letu Orphanages were the charities of choice in 2016_________________________________

Family and Friends’ Remembrances

Hymn No. 2283 “There’ll Be Joy in the Morning”


Message (be brief and to the point)  John liked the word “All”

I spent much of my life trying to help persons be open to new ways of seeing and believing, so don’t blow it at my memorial service by suggesting that the only way to God is through Christianity. I hope God worked through me, but I also believe God works through all people.

Include:  This Is My Song (No. 437) and include my 4th verse (sorry for the difficult spots)

Verse 4: This is my goal, O God of all the world’s faiths, Respect for all, for those with conflict rife, An end to hate, war and all bitter bloodshed,  For all persons have hope, a love of life. Help reach our goal, Thou God of all the world’s faiths, Doing our part, to lift us from dark strife.

(Maybe a solo)   “To Dream the Impossible Dream”



Prayer of Thanksgiving

The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn No. 707 “Hymn of Promise”



“Wisdom is asking the questions for which there are no answers.” Harrell Beck

“There is a little good in the worst of us, and a little bad in the best of us.” Bernice Hope Radley Shaffer

“Someone drew a circle that shut me out  Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout. But LOVE and I had the wit to win We drew a circle that took someone in.”  Edwin Markham

“I think that evangelicals and liberals can get along quite well as long as evangelicals are willing to admit, as I do, that the evangelical position is only a Christian position and not the Christian position. It is only when persons establish a particular theological stance as the only legitimate one to have in order to be part of the household of God that real trouble starts.”   Dr. Tony Campolo

“Some times the Bible is just plain wrong.”    John J. Shaffer (agreeing with Marcus Borg)

Family and Friends are invited to share in refreshment provided by member and friends of the sponsoring agency wherever appropriate in the facility.  Pizza will be provided from John’s estate.  Thin crust preferred.

You are invited to make a donation to the charity of your choice:  in recent years John has raised funds for PET (Personal Energy Transportation Hand Bike) or consider the PNW Conference Endowment Fund for church camping through the Northwest United Methodist Foundation in my memory.

last updated January 15, 2016.


One thought on “Celebration of My Life

  1. Update: okay to eliminate the request for pizza. Sorry to those who love it. It would have been easier to provide in Stanwood (one block away). Not so easy in Federal Way or Auburn.

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