Drive By Visitation
Mass of Christian Burial
Obituary of Gilbert W. Shaffer, Jr.
“Gil, Dad, Pop Pop, Coach, Gilman”
Gil Shaffer, 84 of Denville, passed Sunday at home surrounded by his family. Gil was born in Progress, Pennsylvania to Gilbert W. Shaffer, Sr. and Helen Irene (McKee) Shaffer. After a proud high school football career, he went on to play football at Franklin & Marshall, where he earned his Degree in History. While at F&M, he met the love of his life and his wife of 63 years, Katherine Keim Shaffer. After graduation, they got married and hit the road for a teaching and coaching job in Weehawken, New Jersey.
After a few years in Weehawken, Gil took a teaching and coaching job in Morristown, where he spent the remainder of his career. He coached football, wrestling and baseball and taught Social Studies for decades. More important than his ability to coach was his ability to mentor. Together with Jimmy Jones, Jimmy Vance, Ace Simmons, Jimmy Ward, Gene Podeszwa and Jimmy Basano, they successfully mentored and aided many Morristown High School students into successful college careers. While at Morristown, he took the opportunity to obtain his Master’s Degree in Administration from Seton Hall University. He then moved to Frelinghuysen Middle School where he began teaching English and then became the Assistant Principal for several years until his retirement. In addition to impacting many lives in the Morris School District, Gil was inducted into the Morristown High School Hall of Fame with the 1963 Football Team and the New Jersey Hall of Fame for Wrestling Officiating. After coaching, he could be found officiating High School Football, Wrestling and Track as well as umpiring baseball and softball. He was a fixture umpiring baseball games during the spring at Gardner Field and also coached a year with the Denville Blue Angels. After retiring from officiating High School Football, Gil spent a year as the voice for the Morris Knolls High School Football games during the 1983 season.
All of his professional accomplishments pale in comparison to his role as a husband, father, and Pop Pop. He taught his children the importance of hard work and good citizenship, and that will be passed on for many generations to come. Gil and Kay lived an incredible life together in Denville, with a wonderful group of teacher friends that became like family. Having lived on Memory Lane for their time in Denville, Gil was affectionately known as the “Patriarch” of Beacon Hill. Gil was a member of St. Mary’s RC Church and, for several summers, the first badge number at Cook’s Pond. He loved spending time with his entire family at Barnegat Light every summer, and having “Shaffer” Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter with the ENTIRE crew, where the theme was always Family, Food and Fun!
Gil was pre-deceased by his parents and brother, Gary Shaffer. He leaves only loving memories to wife, Kay, and his five children – Cathy Ann (Dave Pinkerton) of Manheim, PA; Steve (Michele) of Denville; Gregory (Eleanor) of Manahawkin; Timothy (Jacqueline) of Mahwah; and Michael (Kathy) of Bethlehem. He also leaves his cherished grandchildren – Josh, Katie, Amanda, and Ben Pinkerton; Anne, Molly, and Colleen Shaffer; Olivia and Gregory Shaffer; Kaylie and Kyle Shaffer; Christopher, Ethan, and Matthew Shaffer and Michelle Cappuccino. He also leaves his precious great grandchildren – Declan, Jack, Mia, Noelle, and Macie Nissley; Charlotte and Zoe Gamble; and Ellie and Carmine Cappuccino. He also leaves his loving niece Lisa (Amy) Rootvik of Washington, and their sons. He will be missed terribly by his two kitty cats, BJ and Baby.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, January 29th at 10 am at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 15 Myers Avenue, Denville, NJ 07834. Mass will be live-streamed through the St. Mary's website or by clicking here. Following Mass at 12 pm the family will be gathering outside of their home, 25 Memory Lane, Denville for a drive by condolence procession. Burial will follow on Saturday, January 30th at 11:30 am Holy Cross Cemetery, 1810 Jay Street, Lebanon, PA 17046. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Morristown High School Athletic Scholarship Fund in memory of Coach Shaffer by way of www.inmemof.org. Please leave a condolence, light a candle, and share your favorite memory of Gil to continue to celebrate the incredible life he endowed to us.
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