Date of death: 10/21/2019
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1957
Schafer, William “Bill” Joseph, Jr., 87, Baptized into the hope of Christ’s Resurrection, Monday, October 21, 2019.
Beloved husband of Ruth Schafer (nee Durbin); devoted father of William J. III (Penny), Steven M. (Mary) and James A. Schafer; loving grandfather of William J. Schafer IV, Taylor E. (Harrison) Decker, Steven Ryan, Anna E., Madison B., Justin K., Ashley N. and Cameron D. Schafer; great-grandfather of Winifred P. Decker; dear brother of Lawrence M. (Ellen) Schafer, Mary C. (the late Terry) Klinger and the late James P. (Judy) Schafer and John C. (Constance) Schafer; dear uncle, cousin and friend of many.
Bill Schafer is a shining example of a life well lived. He was a humble man who led a full life focused on family, doing the right thing, and exploration.
Bill was born in Indianapolis, Indiana but after a family move, he resided in Columbus, Indiana, where he attended elementary school. He graduated high school at St. Meinrad Seminary. Upon graduation, he enlisted and proudly served in the Air Force from 1951 to 1955 during the Korean Conflict. When he returned, he married his childhood sweetheart, Ruth, in 1956. He graduated with a BA in Business from Indiana University in 1957.
Bill worked in personnel/human resources area at several companies throughout the Midwest, climbing the corporate ladder through loyalty and a strong work ethic. He retired in 1996 from Hussmann Corporation as Director of Human Resources after 21 years of service. He was well respected by his colleagues and received several awards for outstanding performance, achievement and leadership.
After retirement, Bill and Ruth became global travelers. They traveled extensively and frequently. He was proud to say that they had explored nearly every State, more than 35 countries and set foot on all seven continents. In 1999, while on a trip to Rome, Bill suffered and survived sudden cardiac arrest at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. Remarkably, and fortunately, O’Hare had just installed localized AED’s in the airport concourse. In 2003, he was selected to be a participant in the National Center for Early Defibrillation Survivor Summit in Washington DC. As a participant, he told his story to Congress and became a founding member of NCED (later Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association). In 2010, he and other survivors of cardiac arrest in the St. Louis area founded the Gateway Chapter of SCAA. In 2014, he received the Missouri Lt. Governor’s Senior Service Award for his volunteer service to SCAA, Old Trails Historical Society and Knights of Columbus.
Bill was an interesting mix of intellectual and craftsman. He was an avid reader…of all topics…and a skilled artisan who loved to work with his hands. He was equally at home discussing the latest Ludlum novel or building a unique piece of furniture for the family home.
The family wishes to thank the many devoted and compassionate doctors and staff at St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Room, Intensive Care Unit and Hospice.