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

  1. Lyle Gensler says:

    Dear Gladys and family;
    What an honor it was to know and work with Joe. We shared a lot of laughs while building the add-ons at Steve’s work. His kindness and soft laughter is something I will cherish forever.

    Lyle Gensler

  2. Gladys, Steve and Family:

    I remember all the fun parties we had at your home in Osky, the many experiences we shared while growing up thru the Naz,
    singing together in the Encounters, and surviving junior & senior high school together.

    Losing part of the family, particularly the funniest part, leaves an empty spot in our hearts. Remembering all that Joe accomplished,
    the funny situations he created, and the love he leaves with all of you will be a comfort in the days to come.

    Sorry we are so far apart that we are unable to stop by with some support and love.

    Please know that we care and that you are in our prayers.

    Arlys & Cyndie DeWitt

  3. Tim McIntire says:

    Dear Gladys, Steve and family,

    Lori and I will never forget the warm embrace you and Joe extended to us when we moved to Oskaloosa in June of 1967 to assume the music ministry position at the Nazarene Church. While you, Gladys, played the piano for me, Joe was a faithful member of my choir. Steve was one of Lori’s Sunday school pupils.

    We loved coming to your home on Terrace Drive and especially remember the afternoon of July 20, 1969 when our little family was huddled with you and Joe round your TV. We were there to witness the first lunar landing. I’ll never forget Joe getting our 4-year-old Todd’s and ten-month-old Tanya’s attentions and saying: “You’ll forever be able to say that you were in Joe and Gladys Shaffer’s home when man landed on the moon the first time.”

    Joe introduced Lori and me to English Tudor and that style followed us into the next three homes we owned, involving hundreds of board feet of rough-sawn cedar and dozens of gallons of joint compound. And how we enjoyed our visits to Southern California and your place in Newport Beach!

    Joe taught we a life-changing lesson: Unlike anyone I had ever known before, Joe was utterly and totally comfortable with who he was. I loved that about him and I believe that what I saw in him has significantly impacted the way I have lived my life since. And so, Gladys and Steve, we love you and grieve with you. Joe was a true friend.

    Tim and Lori McIntire

  4. Dear Gladys, Steve and family,

    Keith and I were shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Joe. Over the years I have wondered where you were and how you were. Sometimes we lose track of others. You all were such a vital part of the ministry in Osky. The sanctuary and building were a beautiful tribute to our Lord. Joe did a magnificent job designing one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. The platform and choir room were a music ministers dream.

    I remember joe liked to say things to tease me or embarrass me…not publicly …but on the side. Those days I was so shy so I think he had fun doing it. Gladys, you were always so gracious to us. Thank you. Thanks for being patient with us as youth leaders, too. We have great memories of the Encounters and tours, etc, of which Steve was a part

    May God bring comfort to your hearts as there will be a huge void now. We love you and are praying for you.

    Patty and Keith Showalter
    Bucyrus, Ohio and Nashville, TN

  5. Gladys, Steve and family,,
    I was so sad to hear about the passing of Joe. He was one of my best buddies when we were going up. What great times we had at your house. Joe was alway kidding me. I absolutely loved it. I also have wonderful times when we went to Olivet Nazarene University for homecoming. You guys are in my heart and in my thoughts and prayers. Hope I can see you sometime when I come west. Love Carolyn Bailey Smoot

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