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Dr. Gary Lee Shaffer

Posted By Hall-Wynne On September 4, 2009 @ 12:00 am In Obituaries | No Comments

In Memorial

Dr. Gary Lee Shaffer, Professor of Social Work and member of the Chapel Hill community, died of colon cancer Friday, September 4, 2009, surrounded by his family and close friends.

Born in Harrisburg, PA on September 30, 1946, he grew up across the Susquehanna River in the town of New Cumberland. He graduated from Cedar Cliff High School where, among other activities, he sang and played football. Studying Social Work throughout, he attended Franklin and Marshall College for his Bachelor’s, the University of Chicago for his Master’s and obtained his Doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1977.

During his 14 years teaching at the U of Illinois he focused on developing the undergraduate social work program, directing a pilot project in the early 1980s studying the utilization of computers in education and was Director of the Region V Child Welfare Training Center. In honor of his service as the BSW director, the U of I is currently in the process of establishing a scholarship award in his name.

In 1986 he began his tenure at UNC-CH in the School of Social Work where he was the Director for the Field Education Program. Since 1999 his attention has been on teaching with particular attention on school social work practice, social work education and international social work. At UNC-CH he took the lead in the development of the Social Work practice in the schools program, supervised over 300 students placed in NC public schools, was responsible for the licensing of school social work practitioners through the NC Department of Public Instruction, and through this process recommended over 500 practitioners for school social work licensure. He worked throughout his career to improve social work education in the United States through the Council on Social Work Education, as well as in numerous international social work programs in Costa Rica, Honduras, and Lithuania, among others.

He demonstrated a life-long passion for protecting children, strengthening families and education. He has been a tireless advocate for the elimination of corporal punishment in the schools – especially in North Carolina. In his personal life he was a dedicated husband, father, a close friend to many, and a man of many talents. He was a musician, gardener, artist, and talented singer who participated in the St. Thomas More choir for more than 20 years. To those in his presence he was always quick with a smile, a witty comment, a candy or some combination of those three.

He is survived by his wife, Denise; his daughter, Lisa; his brother, Gil; numerous nieces and nephews; and his cat, Sadie.

The funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, September 9th at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill, NC. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial contributions be made to UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC-CH CB# 7295, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295 unclineberger.org/gift/memorialgift.asp, or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place
Memphis TN 38105 www.stjude.org/waystohelp.

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Condolences for the family of “Dr. Gary Lee Shaffer”

Condolence from jeanne Howard on September 8th, 2009 12:00 am

Denise and Lisa:
I was so, so sorry to hear of Gary’s death. I know how much he loved both of you and how glad he was Lisa that you moved “home” to be with him when he was so sick.
I will keep as lovely memories Gary’s wonderful sense of humor and that great smile.
I am also grateful for the guidance he offered me in my career. He literally made me aware of every job I ever had, from my first BSW work in Chicago all the way to my professorship here at ISU.

I hope knowing how much Gary was loved and valued by his many friends and colleagues will make this hard time just a little easier.
With great affection,
Jeanne Howard

Condolence from Dawn Whitehead Wilson on September 8th, 2009 12:00 am

Please accept my heartfelt condolences. Gary was very helpful and supportive in my efforts to be licensed in school social work and provided direction for my field placements in the late 80’s . I will remember him as a very caring and dedicated social worker and professor. My thoughts and prayers will be with you all.

Condolence from Brandy Bynum on September 9th, 2009 12:00 am

To his family: My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. Dr. Shaffer always made me smile. He always knew what to say. He touched my life. He taught me a new word— svelte and told me to be happy of who I am! He will be missed greatly!

Condolence from Paula Newman on September 9th, 2009 12:00 am

Denise,
I am soooo sorry to hear of your loss. May you find strength in your memories.

Best Regards,

Paula Newman
OPC Area Program

Condolence from Richard Claar on September 9th, 2009 12:00 am

To Gary’s entire family,
I went on line today to try to get in touch with Gary and to my sadness and shock came across his obituary. Although I usualy only saw him every five years at our class reunion he was never far from my thoughts. He was my first true friend age 2 or 3. He was a bright spot in my life, always making me laugh. I only missed one reunion 15th because I was on the road with my band. Gary called me the next morning with a vivid description of each of our classmates that attended and I laughed so hard, that to this day I consider that phone call my best reunion memory.
I am so sorry for your loss,but I am sure in the coming months and years you will be able to think of his wonderful sense of humor and love of people and life and smile.

Richard Claar

Condolence from Nadine Block, Director of the Center for Effective Discipline on September 10th, 2009 12:00 am

I send my heartfelt condolences to Gary’s family. I knew him through his advocacy for a school corporal punishment ban in NC. He helped lay the groundwork through his writing and teaching for a ban on school corporal punishment and will be greatly missed by child advocates everywhere.

Condolence from Carla Fowler on September 10th, 2009 12:00 am

To the family: I am so sorry for your loss. Dr. Shaffer was a wonderful and inspiring man! I am a school social worker in Columbus County and attended many conferences that he attended. He always made us laugh!

Condolence from Claudia y David G??mez on September 21st, 2009 12:00 am

We are so sorry for your loss.
We were Gary’s spanish teachers in Oaxaca,México back in 2001 and we had the chance to meet him as a student and as the wonderful person he was. A big kiss for Lisa, his daughter. He wrote about how she always took good care of him and the incredible daughter and nurse she was. He will always be in our hearts!

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