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William (Bill) Peter Schafer, 93, passed away on October 14, 2020 of natural causes in Mesa, AZ. Bill was born August 4, 1927 in Stillwater, Minnesota, the oldest of Peter and Alice (Ruemmele) Schafer’s three children. Bill grew up in Wisconsin and attended Stillwater High School. During his youth, Bill was active in and received awards from the Future Farmers of America (FFA), student leadership and worked on the family dairy farm. He pursued a degree at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, and completed his studies after transferring to the University of Hawaii, with a focus on tropical crop production. Bill graduated in 1951 with a B.S. degree in Agriculture. From 1951 to 1955 Bill served in the United States Air Force, during the Korean War, as a Personnel Sergeant. While in the service, he met his wife, Zona. On December 20, 1953, Bill married Zona at the chapel at Mare Island in Vallejo, CA. They celebrated 66 years of marriage.
After his service, Bill and Zona moved to Hawaii where he began working in agricultural management at Kilauea Sugar on Kauai and Wailuku Sugar on Maui. While on Kauai, Bill and Zona adopted Jim and Mary. Bill then took the family and aloha spirit to Arizona where he managed a large farm in Aguila, learning to grow cotton and wheat, and how to fly. After that, he took his irrigation and crop management expertise to grow corn on the Navaho Indian Reservation in New Mexico and then in Garden City, Kansas. Before retiring from farming, he briefly consulted for a dairy in Torreón, Mexico.
For retirement, Bill and Zona moved back to Mesa, Arizona, where he focused more intently on his passions of golf, photography and volunteerism. He was active in his Catholic parish as a Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Life Member, videotaping the mass, and attending bible studies and retreats. Bill served in leadership in the Lions Club International, and was an advocate for Cochlear Implants. He was truly a life long learner, always collecting articles and reading books and enthusiastically sharing his new discoveries. Bill especially enjoyed his trips to Hawaii, Wickenburg, and Wisconsin to spend time with family and friends where he happily shared many stories and his infectious laughter. He was always a proud veteran and supported the military and participated in the Honor Flight in 2017 – a true highlight for him.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Pete and Alice Schafer, his brothers-in-law Lavern Anderson and Harold Dulon, his sister Mary Jean Dulon, and his granddaughter Amber Grantham.
Bill is survived by his wife Zona, his son Jim (Kim), daughter Mary (Mike), granddaughter Sarah, grandson-in-law Kevin, and four great grandsons (Wyatt, Tel, Blaine, and Coy).
A private Mass for Bill Schafer will be held at 10 am, October 21st at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, 1730 W. Guadalupe Road, Mesa, AZ. A commitment ceremony will follow at Mountain View Cemetery. Services will be immediate family only; extended family and friends may participate via video streaming. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Lions Club International or Wounded Warriors.