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James R. Shaffer
December 30, 1943 ~ January 10, 2024 (age 80) 80 Years Old
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James R. Shaffer of New Bethlehem died January 10, 2024 at the age of 80 after a happy and full life. He was born December 30, 1943 to Lawrence and Kathryn (Kunselman) Shaffer. He was raised in South Bethlehem and graduated from Redbank Valley High School.
He married Sharon Blair on September 5, 1964 and spent the next 60 years being a loving husband. His respect and devotion toward her were always evident in the home and along their travels. Their four sons, Tracy, Michael, Matthew, and Chad, were blessed with a father who was always supportive and selfless rather than directive and overbearing.
His life’s work was in journalism. Starting as a paper boy and then in the print shop, he worked his way up at The Leader-Vindicator newspaper in New Bethlehem under the tutelage of his friend and mentor, Tom T. Andrews. With education at Point Park College and after years of being in charge of advertising sales, he purchased the paper in 1985 and remained the publisher until 1998, when he retired.
He always appreciated the businesses and subscribers that made the newspaper a success. He endeavored to keep it a community newspaper, recognizing its value in unifying a small town in times of crisis, like the flood of 1996, and in creating a platform for factual information and respectful discourse on controversial local topics. Using the proceeds from the paper’s flood memorial issue, he funded the town’s parklet creation beside the Sgt. Joseph Garrison bridge.
For years, Jim was a member of the New Bethlehem Masons, Lion’s Club, and Moose Lodge. He was a leader in the New Bethlehem Presbyterian Church.
Jim was an enthusiastic sportsman. From coaching Little League baseball for years to watching all of his sons’ and grandchildren’s events as they grew up, he was always up for a sporting event. Precious time was spent golfing, playing poker, and laughing with friends. In later years, you could put just about any sport on television, and he would be a vocal fan.
Hunting was a passion. Over the years, he had countless hunting adventures with friends and family. Looking for deer and turkeys, sitting in a stand with a grandkid, and swapping stories with his brothers at camp were all times that he cherished. Ultimately, those stories would make their way to the breakfast table at Evermoores for a good laugh with friends.
He is survived by his wife; sons; daughters-in-law: Kelly, Karen, Stefanie, and Erin; nine grandchildren Cole, Brooke, Mikala, Brian, Jack, Lillian, Nicholas, Daniel, and Julia; and his three brothers Dan, Marvin, and Rodney.
He was preceded in death by his parents and numerous dear friends that he never forgot.
His wife, family, and friends were all he ever needed for happiness and a reason to show his bright smile.
Friends and family will be welcomed at the gathering hall at Evermoores’ banquet room, 341 Broad Street, in New Bethlehem on Friday, January 12, 2024, from 5pm to 8pm for refreshments and stories. A memorial service will be held at the New Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, 403 Penn Street, New Bethlehem, on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at 11am.
Online condolences may be sent to Jim’s family at www.rupertfuneralhomes.com
Arrangements are under the direction of the Rupert Funeral Home and Cremation Service of New Bethlehem.