Joseph W. Shaffer

Joseph W. Shaffer

March 07, 1931 - September 17, 2013

Joseph W. Shaffer

March 07, 1931 - September 17, 2013


Joseph Wesley Shaffer, born March 7, 1931 in Muncie, Indiana passed away peacefully September 17, 2013 at his home in Laguna Woods, California. Best known as Grandpa Joe to his family and friends, he could always be found center court playing tennis or on the sidelines with his wife Gladys cheering on the grandkids in their various endeavors.

Joe followed his big sister Mary to Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois, where he met the love of his life Gladys Freeman in his sophomore year. They married August 8, 1953, and moved to Gladys’s hometown of Oskaloosa, Iowa where their only son Steven Wesley was born on April 5, 1955. Four months later, the family was off to explore Alaska while Joe served in the army.

After completing his service, Joe returned home to Oskaloosa. His interest in architecture led him to begin a career in construction, where his natural talent in the field quickly became apparent. In 1960 he started his own business, Marvin Construction Company, and promptly made a name for himself as a preeminent builder of churches and schools in and around Iowa.

Ever the family man, Joe also built beautiful homes for his family and for that of his brother-in-law Ray-creating an idyllic neighborhood that became the location of family get-togethers and allowed his son and cousins to enjoy a childhood together full of basketball, football, and great times. He concluded his career with his proudest achievement: designing and building The First Church of the Nazarene in Oskaloosa, Iowa-a grand church that became an architectural landmark in the city.

After attending his brother-in-law Dick’s wedding in Southern California, Joe and Gladys fell in love with the area. Over time, they retired to Orange County where Steve lived with his wife, Linda, and their two children, Christina and Scott.

An Architectural Digest junkie, Joe took an interest in woodworking during his retirement years and developed into quite a talented craftsman; his home is furnished primarily with his own handiwork and original designs.

With a clever wit and easy manner, Joe never spoke a word that wasn’t equal part kind and encouraging. Joe Wesley Shaffer brought much joy and laughter into the lives of many. We will miss you dearly, Grandpa Joe.

He is survived by his wife Gladys, son Steve, daughter-in-law Linda, and grandchildren Christina and Scott. He was preceded in death by his sister Mary and his beloved daughter Sandy Jo.

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11 responses to Joseph W. Shaffer

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  1. Dear Gladys and Family,
    Terry and I were sorry to hear about Joe and regret there is so much distance between us. We’ve been thinking about so many fond memories of Joe and you. You were both so welcoming to us when we began coming to the Nazarene Church. The parties you had we’re so much fun. Oh, yes, and there were never better landlords. Joe loved my Swiss Miss hot chocolate. We’ve let time and distance get in our way, but we are truly thankful that Joe and you are friends. Thank you for all you did.

    Connie and Terry

  2. Dear Gladys and loved ones;

    Raedean and I are saddened for those who, like us, have lost this wonderful and gifted man;but we are so thankful that God brought Joe and Gladys into our lives. I am one who worked very closely with Joe as we shared a vision and labored together to create the house of worship in Oskaloosa, Iowa. What I could dream Joe could design and improve. What Joe could envision others could build. Joe lived the project night and day. He could also read people and sense needs. How we treasure hours at their home, and the home of Glady’s parents, the Freeman’s. Joe was one of the most gifted and visionary of men I have known. Like his sister he was an exceptional artist. How Raedean and I thank God for the love we shared with Gladys and her husband.

    Gary Allen and Raedean Henecke

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  4. Dear Gladys and family,
    Ken and I were sorry to hear about Joe. Since hearing, Ken and I have been sharing with Ken’s dad Cal … sharing stories and memories. Friendships are a wonderful blessing from God. Be assured you are in our thoughts and prayers these days. Thank you for your love and contribution to all of the Oskaloosa Nazarene family.
    Ken and Verjean Rexroth

  5. Dear Gladys and family,
    Our sympathy to you in this time of loss. Joe came into my life while I was pastoring the Pella, IA church. He was able to draw what was in my mind for a sanctuary for that time and that place. What great creativity he was gifted with and so willingly it was used for the Kingdom of God. Now pastoring in Oskaloosa it has been my privilege to be the beneficiary of so much good that the two of you sowed in this community many years ago. Thank you for your faithfulness. Seeing Christ face to face will make all our investments worthwhile.
    Dave Childers

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