Surrounded by his family, Clair Marvin “Butch” Shaffer, passed away peacefully at Good Samaritan Village in Moscow, Idaho on March 2, 2021.
Butch was born on March 13, 1935 in Sandpoint, Idaho to Jesse and Catherine Shaffer. The youngest of twelve children, he was given the nickname Butch as a young boy by his older siblings. The nickname suited him and stayed with him the remainder of his life.
Butch attended Sandpoint public schools and graduated from high school in 1953. He was Student Body President his senior year of high school. He played football for the Sandpoint Bulldogs and attended the University of Idaho on a football scholarship. He had the distinct honor of playing football with future hall of famer, Jerry Kramer.
At the U of I, Butch majored in business and was a member of the Signa Nu fraternity. During his senior year of college, Butch met Beverly Bolingbroke of Moscow at a college bridge game. Living in the Delta Gamma house, next door to Butch’s fraternity, their meeting was meant to be. Butch and Bev were married June 14, 1958, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Moscow.
After graduating from the U of I, Butch was hired by the Idaho Department Store. His first position with the store was in Caldwell, Idaho. After a short stay in Caldwell, he was transferred to Lewiston, Idaho. While living in Lewiston, his first child, David, was born. In 1961, Butch was transferred to an affiliated department store in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where his second child, Pamela, was born. Butch was promoted to a managerial position for the department store chain and moved his family to Caldwell. While in Caldwell his youngest son, Bruce, was born.
In 1969, Butch returned to Moscow with his family and lived in the community for the remainder of his life. His youngest child, Nancy, was born in Moscow in 1972. His first employment position in Moscow was managing David’s Department Store before beginning his four decades long career in agribusiness with Pure Line Seeds, a company spearheaded by his father-in-law Dave Bolingbroke.
As a salesman and manager of Pure Line Seeds, Butch traveled the Northwest, Midwest and Europe representing the company. He remained committed to the growth of the company until his retirement in 2006, when he and Bev sold Pure Line Seeds.
Butch was devoted to his family. His life’s purpose revolved around his children and grandchildren. When his first grandchild, Ashlie Claire, was born, he beamed at the name they shared. When his last grandchild was born, he called her his little caboose. His grandchildren fondly called him G-Pa. Always a gentleman, Butch taught his children to hold the door open for others and pull out their chair. He taught his sons to always carry a fresh handkerchief and offer it to a friend if needed. His children remember their Moscow home as a place where their friends were always welcome and invited to stay for dinner.
Butch’s family have fond memories of family road trips and vacations. Every July, the family gathered at the North Fork of the Clearwater River for an annual fishing trip. The end of summer and back to school were celebrated with a trip to the Oregon Coast. Winters were spent with family ski trips to Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint.
Butch was active in many civic organizations. He was a member of the Moscow Elks, the Shrine Club, Moose Lodge, Moscow Bear Boosters and the U of I Vandal Boosters. His and Bev’s Moscow home was often a gathering place for football parties during the Vandal football season. A lifelong Episcopalian, he was active at St. Mark’s in Moscow as a member of the parish council. Butch enjoyed playing golf, racquetball, bridge and poker. On a vacation in Mexico with his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, he and Bev went parasailing, much to the surprise of his children. Butch was known for his skill at “shooting the moon” in the family Hearts card game.
With failing health, Butch moved to Good Samaritan Village in Moscow in 2016. His children and grandchildren decorated his room at Good Sam with family pictures, mementos and Vandal memorabilia. He enjoyed frequent visits by friends, children and grandchildren. He looked forward to car rides through the U of I Campus and across the rolling hills of the Palouse while living at Good Sam.
Butch is survived by Bev, his wife of 62 years, and his children, David Shaffer of Seattle, Washington, Pam Shaffer-Tainer of Lake Oswego, Oregon, Bruce Shaffer (Lisa) of Spokane and Nancy Shaffer Hart (Jason) of Hayden, Idaho and seven grandchildren, Ashlie, Ryan and Randall Tainer, Conaire and Ciarra Shaffer and Zoey and Kiley Hart. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Dr. Louise Bolingbroke Kremkau and brother-in-law Barry Kremkau of Oregon, brother-in-law Donald Bolingbroke and sister-in-law Barbara Bolingbroke of Lewiston, Idaho, niece Kathy Bolingbroke Helbling of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, nephew Steven Bolingbroke of Seattle and nephews Dr. Michael Kremkau (Angie) of Missoula, Montana and Dr. Scott Kremkau (Elizabeth) of Redlands, California as well as numerous grand nieces, nephews and cousins.
At Butch’s request, there was no funeral. He was cremated and his ashes will be scattered at the Oregon Coast and at his favorite fishing hole on the North Fork of the Clearwater river. A celebration of his life will be held later this summer. The family would like to thank Elite Hospice and Good Sam for their compassionate care of Butch.
The family suggests memorial donations in Butch’s name to the Shrine Children’s Hospital in Spokane and the University of Idaho Vandal Boosters.
One of Butch’s favorite sayings was “take your time going but hurry back”. You are at peace Butch/Dad/G-Pa. We will forever remember your legacy of love and devotion to your family. We miss you greatly and will always love you.
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