|Birth: ||Apr. 18, 1933|
|Death: ||Jun. 20, 2012|
Capt. Benjamin Keith Schaeffer, USCG, Ret., age 79, passed away peacefully on June 20, 2012, at his home under Hospice care, surrounded by his loving family.
Ben "Gentle Ben" was born on April 18, 1933, in St. Louis, Mo., to Flenor Byrl Schaeffer and Charles F. Schaeffer Sr., and spent his formative years in Johnson City, Tenn. On Sept. 7, 1957, he married Charlene Virginia Grimm, of Winchester, Va., a student at Madison College (JMU) whom he had met and fallen in love with in Cape May, N.J.
Ben was a 1956 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. His first assignment was as Gunnery and Exchange Officer on the USCG cutter Casco, International Ice Patrol in Argentia, Newfoundland, flying in the nose of a B-17, spotting and plotting icebergs in the North Atlantic. In November of 1957, Ben received orders to flight training in Pensacola, Fla., where he received his naval aviator wings of gold in May of 1958, and flew the HU-16 Albatross. He later returned to Pensacola and completed helicopter training in 1961, and went on to fly the Sikorski HO-4S and H-52.
His tours of duty included: Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, Calif. (where all three of his children were born), Sangley Point Republic of the Philippines, Port Angeles Wash, Executive Officer Air Station Chicago Ill., Executive Officer Coast Guard Recruit Training Center Cape May N.J., Commanding Officer, Air Station Savannah Ga., Chief Search and Rescue Branch 8th CG District New Orleans, La., Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard's largest shore facility USCG Support Center Kodiak Alaska, and Chief of Staff 9th USCG District Cleveland, Ohio, where he retired from active duty in 1986. He worked as superintendent of the Building and Maintenance Department at Cleveland State University. He took an early retirement from CSU in 1993, and moved with his wife Charlene to Sugarmill Woods in Homosassa, Fla., to enjoy the multiple opportunities for sun, golf, friends and family, and watch his beloved Tennessee
Volunteers. For the past 10 years, Ben worked during tax season for H&R Block and AARP to help keep his sense of humor and mind sharp.
Ben was an active member of First Presbyterian Church of Crystal River. He was an Elder and invested many hours of service to its members and projects. He was devoted to God and Church and passed on this love to his extended family through his words and actions.
Ben was preceded in death by his mother, Flenor Byrl Schaeffer, father, Charles F. Schaeffer Sr., stepmother, Dorothy T. Schaeffer, and brother, Charles F. Schaeffer Jr.
Ben is survived by his loving wife, Charlene, of 54 years; daughter, Valerie Sarrett (John), of Richmond, Va.; sons, Karl Schaeffer (Beth), of Harrisonburg, Va., and Kenneth Schaeffer, of Cincinnati, Ohio; grandsons, Kory and Kristian Schaeffer, of Harrisonburg; step-grandsons, Mead, Jack and Scott Sarrett, of Richmond; stepsister, Ruth Miller, of N.C.; stepbrother, Guy Foster, of Fla.; nephew Tom Schaeffer (Andrea), of Franklin, Tenn.; three nieces, Kitty Kisrow, of Primm Springs, Tenn., Laura Underwood, of Nashville, Tenn., and Martha Hall (Brad), of Franklin, Tenn.; and many loving nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Viewing hours are from 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 27, at Wilder Funeral Home in Homosassa, Fla. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at First Presbyterian Church of Crystal River, preceded by a viewing beginning at 1:15 p.m. Internment will be in Johnson City, Tenn., to be determined at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in memory of Capt. Benjamin K. Schaeffer, USCG, Ret., to the First Presbyterian Church of Crystal River, 1501 S.E. Highway 19, Crystal River, FL 34429 or to the USCGA Alumni Assoc. Class of '56 Endowment Fund, 47 Mohegan Ave, New London CT 06320.
Published in Citrus County Chronicle on June 23, 2012
Created by: Doris Albro
Record added: Jun 28, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 92733589
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