John Francis Shafer

June 12th, 1932July 4th, 2018

Longtime Boulder, Colorado resident John F. Shafer died Wednesday, July 4, 2018, surrounded by his family in Ft. Collins, Colorado. He was 86 years old.

He was born John Francis Shafer on June 12, 1932, in Hastings, Nebraska, the only child of Monica Lucile (Sheedy) and Frank Nicholas Shafer.

John grew up on the family farm in Giltner, Nebraska until the age of 14. The family then moved to Hastings where he attended and graduated from St. Cecilia’s High School with the class of 1950. He then attended Hastings College where he received his Bachelors of Science degree in Physics in 1958. His college years were interrupted when he was drafted by the United States Army. He served his country from 1953 until his honorable discharge in 1955. He moved to Boulder, Colorado directly after receiving his college degree.

On January 29, 1962, John was united in marriage to Catherine “Jane” Norton. To this union six boys were born: Frank, Ned, Mark, Ray, Tim, and Dan.

John worked for the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, and the National Park Service.

John’s favorite hobbies were his HAM radio, and working and collecting “N’ gauge model railroad trains. He loved spending time restoring, collecting and driving vintage John Deere tractors. His favorites were the Model B and Model D. After retirement, he enjoyed spending time on the farm, listening to classical music, attending auctions of all kinds, going to thrift stores and, his greatest joy, was spending times with his boys.

Preceding John in death were his parents, Jane Norton, and his son Ray.

Surviving family members are his sons: Frank Shafer of Boulder, Ned and his wife Karen of Bellevue, Washington, Mark Shafer of Mesa, Arizona, Tim Shafer and his wife Deb of Fort Collins, and Dan Shafer and his wife Kathleen of Woodbury, Minnesota. Surviving grandchildren are Travis Shafer, Keely Miller, Pierce Miller, Kaitlyn Shafer and Grant Shafer; surviving great-grandchildren are Amariah Shafer, Adeline Shafer, Logan Shafer and Elijah Shafer. He is also survived by his Double Cousin Jerry Sheedy and his wife Joy of Haines City, Florida.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggest memorials be made in John’s name to The B Sharp Program, which aids the aging mind. John was one of their first participants in the program at its inception. Donations may be made in care of Executive Director Mary Kopco, at the Ft. Collins Symphony, P.O. Box 1963, Fort Collins, CO 80522 or by calling 970-482-4823. Friends may share condolences online with the family at



A visitation with the family will be on Thursday, July 12, from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Darrell Howe Mortuary in Lafayette.

The Rosary will be said at 7:00 PM

A Burial Of Christian Mass will be held on Friday, July 13 at 10:30 AM at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Boulder.

A reception will follow the Mass, and burial will be in Green Mountain Cemetery, with full military honors at 2:00 PM


Green Mountain Cemetery, Boulder, CO | Map


Darrell Howe Mortuary | Map


St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, Boulder | Map


Dear Catherine and family, Sending our condolences to you and your family upon the death of John. My wife Mavis (Mahoney) Davey graduated with John and lived but 2 blocks from each other. I was a year behind him in High School. Such a great guy and we are saddened by his passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time. Respectfully, Mavis and Dick Davey Hastings, NE.
Sending our condolences to Frank, Dan, your brothers and all your families, John was the best next door neighbor you could possibly have. We remember our conversations about his farm. John towered above me when he talked about his peaceful farm in Nebraska. He always had a big smile and big laugh. I imagined a scene in a novel, a place with an endless horizon. He always wore clean white shirts, black trousers, and black shoes. He was classy and a gentle giant. Every Christmas he brought us a box of chocolates. We miss him dearly. Yoshie, Steve and Tai Koester
Dear Frank, Those we hold closest to our heart never truly leaves us. They live in the kindness they have shared and the love they brought into our lives. he raised you well, as your commitment to your family and community and love for the adventure lives in you. My deepest condolences. Sincerely, Deb Conley