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James "Shifty" Schaeffer

Obituary for James "Shifty" Schaeffer

February 25, 1934 - May 8, 2020
Ixonia, Wisconsin | Age 86

Loving Husband, Father and Grandfather


Jim Schaeffer, also know as Shifty to most folks who knew him, passed peacefully on May 8th, 2020 at the family home – affectionately called Stonehill. He was surrounded by his loved ones. Shifty was born in Winner, SD to parents Arnold John (Arnie) Schaeffer and Irene Aletha (Hagenston) Schaeffer.

Shifty was s salesman by profession but never worked a day in his life. He was always his authentic self no matter what he was doing or who he was with. It was his greatest gift to those who knew him and to those who met him for the first time. He was a master of conversation and truly enjoyed getting to know you. But it was his comedic flair that set him apart. In his prime, any life situation reminded him of a joke, and his storytelling technique was unmatched – except by his quick wit! He could go for hours telling joke after joke and was often sought after to MC an event or provide entertainment.

Shifty was a man of faith – a devote Catholic who actively participated in his church communities. He found the love of his life Sandra on a blind date and was so smitten that he introduced her as his "wife" to the bar owner they visited after the movies. He adored her every moment of their 62-year marriage.
Growing up in SD, Shifty learned to hunt and shared his love for the sport with his two sons, Jim Jr and Joe. Oh, the stories we've heard about their young lives while on hunting trips with their dad.

Shifty loved all sports and he passed that along to his children. His passion began early in life; his father was an Olympic caliber track star and a very successful football coach. Jim's favorite was football, but not too far behind was basketball, baseball, golf and of course curling. He was the consummate Packers, Bucks and Brewers fan. Shifty and Sandy were active members of the Kettle Moraine Curling Club for more than 40 years. Shifty was a terrific skip – especially for the team he built with is brother and two sons. He was very proud of their successes on the ice but even more grateful for the time he spent with them during those fun times.

Shifty shared his love of sports by playing with his kids EVERY Saturday and Sunday. Whatever the season, he was in the backyard pitching whiffle balls, tossing the football, shooting free throws with us. He taught his children by example to be both competitors and good sports. His love of sports will continue to be a legacy his children and grandchildren carry on for their Dad and Grandpa.

His family moved from SD to IL where he attended private Catholic schools, including the military high school Marmion. He was drafted in 1956 serving 2 years. During that same time, he married Sandy and they first settled in Aurora IL to start a family. In 1962 they moved to Pewaukee WI with three young girls – Stacey, Susanne, and Sara. Jim Jr., Joe and Mary were soon to follow – 6 kids in 10 years oh my!

Pewaukee was and will always be our family's hometown. All of Jim and Sandy's children went to St. Anthony's elementary school, Pewaukee Middle and Pewaukee High School (go Pirates!) The schools, local pharmacies and banks, restaurants and bars, and the people associated became our family's circle of friends. Shifty played in adult leagues like P.A.L. (basketball) and Pewaukee Parks & Rec (softball), always dragging along a few kids along the way. He coached his boys and entertained their friends – their bonds continue today.

Family trips were many. We always traveled by station wagon – 8 people crammed in – but Shifty made it fun. Whether it was a family vacation or trips to see relatives, we crossed many state lines together. His travel style was to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible so there were very few stops, and we ate on the go. But there was always a Holiday Inn swimming pool at the end of each day. During our trips, if his window went down and his left hip raised, we knew to take cover!

Our dad Shifty was both thrifty and generous with is wallet and his heart. He would do anything for his family, whether counseling about life or co-signing a loan. And when times got tough, he always saw the good side and knew just what to do.

Shifty was the perfect grandpa to his eight grandchildren – funny, fussy, loving, proud. Here's a note from his granddaughter Elle that sums him up perfectly:
"Just reflecting on his life, he taught me so much about who I want to be. Successful and strong but also unapologetically himself. A friend to ALL. Lover of people and lover of Jesus. Steady in his conviction. Funny as hell. And the #1 fan of his wife and kids (and grandkids)."

Shifty was preceded in death by his sister, Donna Buchner (David), his niece, Maggie Campbell, and his nephew-in-law James Campbell.
Shifty is survived by his wife, Sandy, his daughter Stacey Schaeffer (Tiffiny), his daughter, Susanne, his daughter, Sara, his son, Jim Jr. (Barb), his son, Joe (Sandy), his daughter Mary (Gilbert), his grandchildren AJ Wilten, Chelsea Schober, Elle Overholt (Robert) Raeleah Schaeffer, Ericka Schaeffer, Sydney Schaeffer, Samantha Schaeffer, Avery Schaeffer, his brother Jack Schaeffer (Nancy) and many other amazing extended family members and friends.

The funeral service will be a private mass on May 11, 2020.

A Celebration of Life for family and friends will be held at a later date.

Family Home Address:
W1138 Hill Rd
Ixonia, WI 53036

The family would like to thank Aurora at Home Hospice Care – especially Lori – and the home care team of Cheryl, Carolyn, Melanie and Tracey for their compassionate care and kindness.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association.

Online condolences may be expressed at the link provided on this website.

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Family Home Address:

W1138 Hill Rd
Ixonia, WI 53036

Arrangements By

Yonke & Son Funeral Home

205 Prospect Ave
Pewaukee, WI 53072
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