Joel Shafer

July 22, 1947 - November 15, 2016
Portage, MI



Sunday, November 20, 2016
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
Portage Location
5975 Lovers Lane
Portage, MI 49002
(269) 344-5600
Driving Directions


Monday, November 21, 2016
10:00 AM to 10:30 AM EST
Fort Custer National Cemetery
15501 Dickman Road
Augusta, MI 49012

Please arrive at the cemetery by 9:45am.

Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Centrica Care Navigators
7100 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
Web Site

Alzheimer's Association - Michigan Great Lakes Chapter
200 Turwill Ln Suite 6
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 342-1482
Driving Directions
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Polderman's Florist & Garden Center
8710 Portage Road
Portage, MI 49002
(269) 327-3656
Driving Directions

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


There is no greater man than one who sacrifices for his family and loves them unconditionally. Joe Shafer was such a man, and for those who knew and loved him, there was no one more loyal or trustworthy. Although quite detailed and a perfectionist, Joe was fair and hardworking. He loved his family dearly, valued his friendships greatly, and was always there with a helping hand and a listening ear. Gone yet never to be forgotten are the numerous memories he leaves behind.

On July 22, 1947, Richard and Molly (Boersma) Shafer welcomed their new baby boy, Joel into their arms. The second oldest of six children, Joel grew up alongside his siblings, Jim, Jon, Jack, Jerry, and Jill. To support their bustling household, Joel’s father worked in a machine shop while his mother remained at home as a homemaker.

Joe experienced a childhood filled with boyhood adventures. He was raised in Kalamazoo, attended the local schools, and during his youth, at the age of 16, he met the young girl who would forever hold his heart, JoAnne Lindquist. The two met at a local soda fountain where JoAnne worked. Joe was a handsome and well-dressed guy who worked next door at a gas station. A friendship soon developed. Joe went on to graduate from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1965, and at the height of the Vietnam War, Joe enlisted with the U.S. Navy. From 1966 to 1970 he served in Naval intelligence on the coast of Florida as well as on the USS Saratoga.

Following his honorable discharge from the service, Joe returned home to Michigan and started dating JoAnne. In fact, their first date included seeing the James Bond movie, Goldfinger. With a love meant to last, Joe and JoAnne were happily married on September 12, 1970. Together they shared the love of two wonderful daughters, Jenni and Nikki, and in time, the blessing of three grandchildren, Austin, Jacob, and Cameron who were Joe’s greatest joy. As a father, Joe was a great role model. He enjoyed spending time with his daughters which included coaching their little league softball teams throughout the years. Many family get-togethers included Joe using his great grilling skills where he was a pro. A good cook, he also made the best rump roast around and no one could beat his barbecue chicken.

Joe made a good life for JoAnne and their family. Always a detailed and hard worker, his work ethic was to be admired. Prior to venturing out on his own with his own business, D.I.S. Inc., Joe worked at Upjohn where he was head of corporate payroll. As an entrepreneur, he served as a programmer, designing software for quality control. In his free time, Joe liked keeping his cars spotless and clean. He took great pride in them and loved waxing and detailing his cars where his perfectionist nature shone bright. One of his favorites included his 2002 Mustang GT convertible which Joe considered one of his prized possessions. He loved going for rides in his convertible, yet he also loved being at home and working, just the same. When it came to music, his most favored song was Iron Butterfly’s, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida". He and JoAnne shared special songs between them, “Ebb Tide” was the song in which they shared a dance at JoAnne's senior prom and "Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers was also at the top of their list. Another source of joy for Joe was their dog, Abbie, who brought much love and comfort to him.

In 2008, Joe began his battle with Alzheimer’s. As the disease progressed over the last eight years, it was so difficult for those who knew Joe best to witness such an independent and loving man succumb to this affliction. Even so, the love and admiration remained and with the help of his family, Joe was able to make the most of his days. Deeply missed and lovingly remembered, the heart of Joe lives on.

Joel J. Shafer, of Portage passed away on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, at the age of 69. Joe is survived by his wife of 46 years, JoAnne; his daughters, Jenni (John) Hayward, of Fulton and Nikki (Chris) Stackable, of Holt; three grandchildren: Austin, Jacob, and Cameron; his siblings: Jim (Donna) Shafer, of AZ; Jack (Nicole) Shafer, of VA; Jerry (Sam) Shafer, of LA; and Jill (Chuck) Sherman, of Fowler. Joe is preceded in death by his parents: Richard and Molly Shafer; and one brother, Jon Shafer.

The family will receive friends on Sunday from 2-5pm at Life Story Funeral Home, 5975 Lovers Lane, Portage (269-344-5600). Joel will be buried with military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery on Monday at 10AM, 15501 Dickman Road, Augusta, MI. Please visit Joe’s web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you sign his online guestbook, share a memory and/or photo. Those who wish to make contributions may do so to Alzheimer’s Association and/or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.