Till we meet again

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We bid a sad farewell to a Westminster icon and historian when we said our sad goodbyes to Mike Shaffner. Parting is hard and it’s even harder when it’s someone you’ve known for over 50 years.

Perhaps we didn’t give Mike Shaffner enough tributes in life but we sent him off on his new journey with a gusto Rotary song called “Smile and the World Smiles with You.” Mike founded the Westminster Rotary Club and its members were at his graveside when we laid him to rest last week.

At the beginning

In 1957 our young family moved to Westminster and began to buy gas from Mike’s service station. Those were “back in the day” when service meant service. As soon as you pulled in at Mike’s service station, an attendant came running out to wash the windows and pump the gas.

Many young boys got their work ethic from Mike. If you were good at it he kept you on, if you weren’t you were out the door before the day was finished.

Mike and Charlotte were contributors to our community in monetary and giving of their time and energy through the years. They raised son Bill and daughter Susan in a modest small home on Osceola Street, neighbors of ours.

By the time 1966 rolled around, Mike already opened and owned 38 gas companies. His business grew and he expanded into batteries, tires and other auto accessories.

Lots to see and do

But work was not all Mike did, he traveled the world on a small budget by staying in hostels and moderate hotels. The learning curve was great with Mike, and he instilled his love of learning to his son Bill and daughter Susan.

Mike, always striving to better the community, contributed anonymously to numerous causes. He never forgot his Jewish background. His funeral service gave testimony to his Jewish faith.

Another move

A few years ago following Charlotte’s death, Mike sold their home and moved into Legacy Ridge Retirement Center. Though he stayed active, the 93 years had taken their toll and he required 24-hour care.

It was not surprising to hear from Susan that his health was failing and he wanted to see some of his close friends. So one day two weeks ago Marilyn Flachman and I paid him a visit. He loved talking history and over and over again he admonished us to “care for each other.”

Our hour-long visit was precious – full of sad and happy memories (sad after son Bill died). Of course we knew we would not see Mike again. But he didn’t falter for a minute. So I said “goodbye” and ended with “‘til we meet again” and two days later Mike was gone. He leaves us to mourn but also to give thanks that we got to know and love Mike Shaffner.

Quote of the week

“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop. At late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time for the clock may soon be still.” Anonymous

Stay well, stay involved and stay tuned.

P.S. Mike died in his daughter Susan’s arms on Saturday morning, June 7. He joins wife Charlotte and son Bill on that new journey.