Local Obits

Obituary of William A. Shafer II


William A. Shafer II “Bill,” 79, of Cortland, passed away peacefully on November 6, 2023, at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, New York.


Bill was born in 1944 to the late Doctor William A. Shafer I and Kathryn B. Shafer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Academy Highschool in Erie, PA, and following graduation in 1962, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

Bill proudly served during the Viet Nam Era as an Electronics Warfare Officer with the 484th Armament and Electronics Maintenance Squadron, Strategic Air Command. During his service in Guam, Bill worked on electronic countermeasures for B-52 bombers.

Following his military discharge in 1966, Bill returned to Erie, PA. He and Carol Shafer were married in 1968 and they began family life.

Bill worked at Spectrum Control in Erie, until he relocated to Binghamton, NY in 1988 to work for Lockheed Martin, and then BAE Systems.

In 1997, Bill and Shirley met, and they married in 1999. Bill and Shirley were blessed to have shared 26 wonderful years together before his passing.

Bill had a lifelong passion in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). He was introduced to it by his father, who was a Group Commander. He joined CAP in 1957, and served until he left in the Air Force in 1962. Bill tried to stay active while in the Air Force, but his Air Force job schedule got in the way. He rejoined the Erie CAP when he returned to Erie in 1966. He was soon promoted to Second Lieutenant. He stayed active, becoming a Ranger Ground Rescue Team Commander for Cadets, Squadron Commander, and later a Group Commander.

Bill was famous for his mentoring of young people. Four of his cadets attained the Carl A. Spaatz award; the highest achievement award in the CAP cadet program.

After Bill relocated to New York State, he remained active in CAP, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He developed an extensive radio communications system for the New York Wing of CAP, and was awarded the Communicator of the Year award for several years, as well as the Frank G. Brewer Memorial Aerospace Award.

In addition to his lifelong participation in CAP, Bill spent many hours at his hobby of fine-scale modeling of aircrafts from all eras. He was an avid reader; H.G. Wells and Jules Verne among his favorites.

Survivors include Shirley J. Shafer, his wife, son William A. Shafer III, daughter, Diana Mendez, two special women he loved as daughters, Michelle Crouse and Karin Jones, grandchildren William Paul Shafer, Nicholas Aiden Shafer, Olivia Rose Mendez, Ruben Alex Mendez III, Reese Taylor Jones, Jack Elliot Jones, and one stepson Christopher Silvers. Bill’s brothers are Paul Shafer, David Shafer, and Richard Shafer. Cousins include LeAnn Zebley, JoAnn Lecrone, Leonard Skultety, David Skultety, and Edward Buechele. He is also survived by his three nephews, one niece, two grand nephews, and two grand nieces.

Bill was predeceased by two grandchildren; Sean Michael Shafer and Gabrielle Kathryn Mendez.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Cortland Elks, (BPOE Lodge 748) 9 Groton Ave., on Sunday November 19 from 1:30 until 5:30. Interment will take place at Green Cemetery in Great Valley, New York at the convenience of the family.

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