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Greensburg man loved to dance, build things

Patrick Varine
| Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Sam Shaffer's dance card was full at all times. And that's not a metaphor.

“My friend took dance lessons for her wedding, just so she could dance with my dad,” said his daughter Vonnie Goldsborough. “Anytime we had family weddings, watching my mom and dad dance was very cool. They went to local dance halls all the time when they were younger.”

Samuel E. Shaffer Jr. of Greensburg died Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, of complications from kidney failure. He was 87.

Mr. Shaffer was born Aug. 1, 1930, a son of the late Samuel E. Shaffer Sr., and Nora (Bowman) Shaffer-Graff.

He was an Army veteran and served in the Korean War.

He met his wife of 64 years, Teresa, at the former Doc's Place restaurant in Greensburg.

“He enjoyed being with people,” Goldsborough said. “He had a Saturday morning coffee group for years. It was more than 20 people. Every Saturday morning they'd get together.”

The Shaffers started their life together in a home on Depot Street in Greensburg. Shortly after Goldsborough was born, they moved to a house on Carbon Road.

“Dad was big into building,” said daughter Sandee Farrell of Greensburg. “He helped build the additions onto our house and several cousins' houses.”

Farrell said her father had a garage “filled with every tool he ever owned. If anyone needed a tool, they knew Sam probably had it in his garage.”

Mr. Shaffer's claim to fame is that he once appeared on “The Tonight Show” during one of Jay Leno's “Headlines” segments.

“There was a gas leak in Carbon, and there was a Trib photo of my dad talking to his neighbor about the gas leak, and he's standing there smoking his trademark pipe while the neighbor is smoking a cigarette,” Farrell said.

“He was generous with his time, careful in his decision-making, and someone who was always there to help both his immediate and extended family,” Farrell said.

Mr. Shaffer is survived by his wife, Teresa D. (Musingo) Shaffer; his children, Sandee Farrell, Vonnie Goldsborough, and Mark Shaffer, all of Greensburg, and Alan Shaffer of Florida; six grandchildren and a great-grandson.

Prayers will begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home, 516 Stanton St., Greensburg, with a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Paul Parish, 820 Carbon Road in Hempfield. Full military honors will be accorded by the American Legion Post 981 in South Greensburg.

Memorial contributions can be made to Queen of Angels Catholic School, 1 Main St., North Huntingdon, PA 15642.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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