Feb 18th 1930 - Mar 9th 2014
Throughout his rich and rewarding life, Henry Schafer was a man of honor and strength who firmly believed in working hard at everything he did. He was generous and thoughtful of others with a fun-loving spirit as well. Henry was devoted to caring for the wife and children he treasured and worked hard to provide them with a life they could enjoy. He loved being outdoors and spent every moment he could at their place on the lake for as long as he was able. Life will never be the same for Henry’s loved ones without him here, but they will forever savor the special memories they have of such an extraordinary man.
The 1930s were very much defined by the Great Depression that cloaked the entire decade in great hardship. Jobs became hard to come by, which drove the unemployment rate to over 25 percent leaving cities, communities, and families doing whatever they could to weather the storm that didn’t lift until our nation became involved in WWII during the early forties. It was just as the sun was rising on this difficult time in our nation’s history that a young couple from Clinton County, Michigan, was able to shift their focus to a joyous time in their own lives as they were blessed with the birth of a baby boy on February 18, 1930. Henry John was the second of six children born to his parents, William and Hildagard (Schafer) Schafer, and he was raised in the family home alongside his three sisters, Pat, Louise, and Diane, and his two brothers, Bernie and Ken.
The Schafer family was not immune to the challenges of the times, and as a result they frequently moved wherever Henry’s father could find work during his youngest years. Like many families of this generation, the Schafers were close and drew strength from being together. Henry found fun in simple ways like playing with his siblings and other kids in the neighborhood, and he enjoyed swimming and riding bikes as well. He was quiet and reserved by nature and could often be found reading. Henry attended Pewamo Schools throughout his entire school career. He was a good student who also began working at an early age in addition to holding down his studies so that he could help his family make ends meet.
Shortly after graduating from high school Henry went into the United States Army where he served as a cook during the Korean Conflict. With his military duties fulfilled, he returned home in 1952 and began working at General Motors where he established a career that would span the entirety of his working days until he retired in 1985.
Not to be forgotten during Henry’s years as a young man was his introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Barbara Howorth, and they met at his sister Pat’s wedding. With a desire to establish a life together the sweethearts were married on September 22, 1956. The newlyweds enjoyed a memorable honeymoon in the Upper Peninsula and returned home to begin their new lives together as husband and wife. Together Henry and Barbara welcomed four children into their hearts and home, Keith, John, Brenda, and Diane. Although Henry was not overly affectionate with his children he was attentive to them, and they always knew that they were loved. As a family they liked to camp and spend time at the cabin in Meredith, Michigan.
Over the years Henry was one to keep busy. He was an amazing jack of all trades who could fix or build anything. Once their children were grown Henry and Barbara sold the cabin and bought a place on Lake Isabella in Isabella County. He loved everything the lake has to offer and tried to get there whenever he could. As they neared retirement age Henry and his wife bought a place in Davenport, Florida, where they spent their winters from 1993 through 2003. Not only was Henry known for his handyman skills, he was also known for his crocheting as he was amazing at it. Through the years Henry made an afghan for everyone in the family, and he also donated several to local churches. When grandchildren arrived Henry couldn’t have been happier, and he loved playing with them whenever he could. In addition, he was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church on Pewamo.
Later in life Henry was deeply saddened with the death of his beloved wife on June 14, 2009. A short time later he moved to Grace Haven Assisted Living in St. Johns where he spent the remainder of his sunset years.
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Henry Schafer filled his days with laughter, love, and faith. He was a loving husband, dedicated father, and fantastic grandfather whose family was his greatest source of pride and joy. Henry wasn’t one to be concerned about what he had, rather, his life’s focus was on making the most of the days he was given. He will be deeply missed while his memory is forever cherished by his family and friends.
Henry J. Schafer died on March 9, 2014. Henry’s family includes his children, Keith (Tina) Schafer of Eaton Rapids, John (Denise) Schafer of Pewamo, Brenda (Kevin Forbes) Goerge of St. Johns, and Diane (Robert) McKinney of St. Johns; 11 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; sisters, Pat (Roy) Howorth, Louise (Francis) Feldpausch, and Diane (Carroll) Conway; brother, Ken (Katrinka) Schafer; and many nieces and nephews. Henry was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Barbara; and brother, Bernie (Eileen) Schafer. Funeral Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m, Friday, March 14, 2014, at St. Joseph Catholic Church of Pewamo, burial to follow at St. Joseph Cemetery with Fr. Charlon Mason presiding. Military Services will be provided by the VFW Post #3733. The family will receive friends 2-4 and 6-8 p.m., with a rosary being prayed at 7 p.m., on Thursday at Osgood Funeral Home, 104 E. Cass St., St. Johns. In memory of Henry, donations may be made to The VFW Post #3733. To learn more about Henry and view his Life Story film, please visit his personal webpage at www.lifestorynet.com/memories/97916. The family is being served by Osgood Funeral Homes.