Shirley Beatrice (Barber) Shafer aged 90 years old died recently at home with her husband, Raymond Shafer, Sr. She was under the excellent care of Dr. Hedy Migden and St. Peter's Hospice in home care. She was well attended by her caretakers, and the family is grateful to longtime caretaker Jan Dano and Lydia, Rose, Penny, Robin, Margie and Nancy. A special thanks to Dr. Hedy Migden and her staff who supported Shirley and the family throughout her extensive care. Her husband, Raymond Shafer, Sr. also cared for her daily and was always sitting by her side holding hands as they watched TV together and sang songs to pass the days along with the many visitors.
Shirley Shafer was born to Bessie (Colliton) & Lewis Barber on April 15, 1924 in Duanesburg, NY on her parent's Bozenkill farm. The last of five siblings, her eldest brother was Loren (Hattie) Barber, Sr., her sister, Helen (Deldee) (Howard L.) Gage, brother, Kenneth (Agnes) Barber and brother Milton (Irene) Barber, Sr. Her grandparents were of a German immigrant family who settled in Huntersland and on her mother's side of English heritage who had settled in the Duanesburg area. Her upbringing on a farm served her well as she was brought up during the Great Depression. In her youth, she was stricken with rheumatic fever at age nine. Bedridden for a year, she learned to entertain herself singing and teaching herself to play the parlor piano. Growing up with post-Civil War era parents, she learned the songs of the 19th century and early 20th century recalling until her death all seven or eight verses of the early history of American music. She was a true patriot in every sense of the word and voted each year except for one.
Shirley graduated from Duanesburg Central High School and in her early 20's; she signed up for the Civil Air Defense and was a lookout in a tower in Duanesburg during WWII. She served many occupations throughout her life as waitress, cook, nursing home aide, factory worker for Fuller Brush Co., as well as caretaking many children especially her grandchildren, Faith and Gregory and Lisa whom she dearly loved. She loved to square dance, garden with her husband, Raymond Shafer, Sr. and prepared wonderfully cooked meals and baked like no other. Many would come to visit and have a sample of her baked goods always being a hospitable hostess. She loved playing pinochle even through her Alzheimer's and enjoyed singing at her daughter's Civil War Musicales. She had a kindly, gracious way and a quick wit. Even in the spring at age 90, she attended a Palace Caverns dance with her son-in-law, Bernie Sisson.
In Shirley's first marriage to Charles Bradt, a daughter was born, Donna (Bradt) Heath. She would later have a second daughter, Paula Shafer Sisson, and then have step-children, Loren Shafer, Sr., Raymond Shafer, Jr., Lucille (Shafer) Kellie and Richard Shafer. Her grandchildren include Gregory and Bessie (Lividitis) Sokaris and Faith Sisson and Lisa (Kellie) & Andy Joslin, Laurie (Shafer) & Erik Kass, Loren and Marie Shafer, Nicole (Sisson) Robert Juhl, Shaun and Dawn Sisson and several great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. She is survived by her husband, Raymond F. Shafer, Sr. age 98 who is at the home they built together in 1960. As well, she is survived by her daughters, Donna Heath and Paula (Shafer) Sisson.
The Fredendall Funeral home in Altamont will have calling hours on Friday, October 3, 2014 between 5:30 and 7:30 pm. On Saturday, October 4, 2014 a funeral service will be held at the funeral parlor at 10:00 am with Rev. Timothy Van Heest officiating with interment directly after at the Grove Cemetery in Delanson, NY. Raymond Shafer, Sr. asks that memorial contributions be made to the caring church family of Knox Reformed Church 2175 Berne Altamont Rd, Altamont, NY 12009. The family extends gratitude for the numerous prayers and cards that the church, family and friends had sent to Shirley during her brief illness. It was a great comfort to her, and she thoroughly enjoyed every one's notes and concern. As well, the family extends thankfulness for the multiple ambulance calls, 911 service and the Guilderland Paramedics team. St. Peter's Hospice program was also much appreciated during the last weeks of Shirley's life with us.
Shirley Shafer was truly a great lady, gracious and quiet, but fun-loving and always the best of mothers and a true friend to those who knew her. She will be greatly missed.
Online condolences may be made at www.fredendallfuneralhome.com