During the early morning hours of Friday, October 2, 2020, John D. Shaffer of Canton received the call to “come home” from his Friend and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He passed away peacefully at Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA following a long battle with cancer. He was 68 years of age.
John was born on September 11, 1952 in Sayre, PA, the son of Martin and Margaret (Allen) Shaffer. He spent his elementary and high school years in Canton, graduating from Canton High School in 1970. Afterwards, he attended and graduated from Eisenhower College in Seneca Falls, New York, with a degree in history in 1974. His love of history remained with him all his life, and he was an especially wonderful source of local history. He was always an avid reader and baseball fan. He enjoyed stamp collecting, gardening and square dancing with the Grand Paraders.
John’s heart belonged to Canton. Few could ever measure up to John’s love for and devotion to his small town community. He made Canton his home for his whole life, investing innumerable hours in a broad spectrum of community service organizations and projects. Both his vocation and avocation were focused on helping the community. He worked for 19 years as a sewer operator, which provided Canton residents with an unsung, but essential service. For the next 30 years he labored to enhance community connectedness and informed relations through The Canton Independent Sentinel newspaper which he bought in 1988 and later purchased Troy Gazette Register. Gifted with a keen mind, political acumen and articulate English composition skills, John was a natural when it came to owning and publishing a newspaper. Even after selling the newspaper in 2018, he continued to write editorials until shortly before he passed.
His many efforts to serve his community have left an abiding legacy among Canton residents. He served as Deacon of Faith Baptist Church. There were numerous local Boards and organizations in which John participated. He was an umpire and chief for the Canton Little League. He served on the Boards of the Green Free Library, the Canton Area Recreation Association (Canton Pool), the Leroy Heritage Museum, the Canton Alumni Association, the Canton Borough Shade Tree Commission, and SAFE (Serving Area Families Everyday). John lived with a heart of helpfulness that touched nearly every corner of life in Canton.
In February 1990 John’s heart was captured by a Wyoming rancher’s daughter. After being given each other’s address by a mutual friend, John and Lois’s first letters to each other crossed in the mail. Less than a year later, with the help of her parents, John moved them all back to Canton where he and Lois were married on January 27, 1991. Lois and her girls became the loves of his life. John stepped into fatherhood to three beautiful girls, ages 10, 8 and 6. They grew up learning what unconditional love was from a man who loved them as if they were his own.
John leaves behind his wife, Lois, and three daughters: Heather Seaton (Matt) of Saratoga Springs, NY, Amber House (Thomas) of Salem, AL, and Jennifer Jackson (Christopher) of Roaring Branch, PA. Seven grandchildren mourn his passing: McKinley and Tyler Seaton, Reagan and Madison House, and Lily, Sarah and Emilyn Jackson. It was his special delight to
influence the naming of these grandchildren so that they each bear the name of a U.S. president.
John is also survived by his brother, Michael Shaffer (Heidi) of York, ME, nephew David (Maria) Shaffer of Corning, NY, niece Kathryn Shaffer of Seattle, WA, and niece Greta Shaffer of York, ME. He leaves behind double first cousins Terry Spencer, Jim Allen, Kelly Allen, Penny Allen, Missy Ardinger and numerous cousins and friends.
Services will be held October 8, 2020 from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Viewing to follow from 12:00-2:00 pm in the backyard of John & Lois Shaffer’s, 96 Circus Lane, Canton, PA. Please bring a lawn chair.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Green Free Library, 38 North Center Street, Canton, PA 17724
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