In Loving Memory of 
John "Jack" Schafer

January 30, 1946 - April 1, 2020

John “Jack” Stewart Schafer, of Milwaukee, WI, passed on April 1, 2020 at age 74. He was born on January 30, 1946 and was the only child of Ruth Ann (nee Masson) and John George Schafer. He was the loving husband of Kathleen “Kathy” (nee Peck) for over 52 wonderful years. He was the proud father of Karina Anne and John Stewart Schafer Jr. He is the brother-in-law of Mary (nee Peck) and James “Jim” Schulist, and uncle to Susan “Suzi” Earhart (nee Schulist) {(dau: Meagan, son: Michael (Dayna)] and Stephen “Steve” Schulist (Sherrelyn). Family was everything to Jack and he was devoted to his wife (his penguin pal), and family. 


He was preceded in death by his beloved aunt, Margaret “Aunti Mi” Weber (nee Masson) (Elmer) and his uncle and namesake, John Stewart Masson (Kinoko) and his only cousin, their daughter, Kiyoko San. Sadly, he never was able to meet his Uncle John and his family as John served proudly in the Navy during WWII and lived in China with his family. In 1944, John’s ship, the USS Kalk, was sunk and he was declared MIA. Aunti Mi worked diligently to get the sister-in-law she never met U.S. citizenship so Kinoko and their daughter could join the family in Milwaukee after John died. Kinoko was in Nagasaki when the atomic bomb exploded. She survived, but despite Aunti Mi’s great effort, little more is known. Their legacy and memory lived through the many stories that Jack shared with family and friends. 


He is also survived by his many extended cousins: Christine “Pixie” Penner, who has been such a pillar of the support for the family during this difficult time, and the rest of the Penner “tribe”, the Grass family, the Lars Husum family in Denmark, and his extended Scottish family-by-heart in Wisconsin and beyond.


Jack was a fourth-generation Milwaukeean and a lifelong East Sider. As a child, he was the head acolyte at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Downer Ave, and a Boy Scout. He attended Philipp Elementary School, Hartford Avenue School and Riverside (East) High School in Class of 1963. Jack also attended UW-Madison College of Engineering and UW-Milwaukee. Jack served in the United States Navy as a midshipman and received an honorable discharge. 


During his early years, while working on commercial fishing boats in Door County, WI, he developed a love and respect for Lake Michigan, and established a lifelong friendship with the Armand Tipler family that grew into a deeply treasured extended family-of-heart and with whom we shared many a joyous Thanksgiving and Easter, and many laughs in the fish shed and while smoking fish.


As a young man, Jack worked as a race car mechanic at Pabst Motors in Milwaukee and Millrace Motors in Thiensville. He enjoyed racing foreign cars with great friends Bob Dickey, Chris Beebe and Jimmy Pott. During his 40-plus year career in industrial water treatment equipment manufacturing, Jack excelled as a project engineer, an engineering manager, and an entrepreneur. He helped start multiple successful businesses in Milwaukee, including Hydro-Max, Schafer & Associates, and Lakeside Water Treatment, Inc.. 


Jack was a well-respected member of the Scottish community in Wisconsin. He served on the Board of Trustees for Clan Sinclair and as the Wisconsin State Commissioner for Clan Sinclair USA. He loved attending Highland Games and warmly welcomed many new members into Clan Sinclair and the Saint Andrew’s Society at the yearly games in Wisconsin and Illinois. He served as the President of the St. Andrew’s Society of the City of Milwaukee from 2018 until his passing; previously serving as First Vice President, Second Vice President, and a member of the Board of Managers for several years. He was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and enjoyed studying Scottish and World history.  

He was an honest, fair, kind and extremely generous gentleman that believed strongly in equality and doing the right thing. He was a man of the utmost integrity who believed strongly in the Golden Rule and treating those as you would want to be treated. 

He loved to share stories about his many adventures in life. Jack had a deep catalog of time tested witticisms and insights that clarified the common truth of matters big and small. Jack had a talent for music and spent many evenings with friends singing folk tunes, Celtic music and playing the guitar and banjo.


The Schafer family is thankful for the wonderful staff of Columbia St. Mary’s on Lake Drive for their exceptional care. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations please be sent to the Columbia St. Mary's Foundation at Memorial donations made in John Schafer’s name will be directed to the Support Ascension Caregivers fund which was created to provide vital assistance for the hospital’s caregivers. It’s purpose is to acquire the needed supplies and services for the staff’s safety and healing during this devastating COVID-19 virus event.


The family would also like to thank Dr. Matthew Hanna for his personalized care and expertise in nephrology.


A celebration of life with music and cheer will be scheduled at a time in the future when his many dear friends can safely gather together again.


This is just the snippet of a life well-lived. The family intends to continue his story and share many photographs, stories and the joy of his many friends on this website dedicated to their dad.



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Jack Schafer & Joe Rizzo
Live at Champion's Pub
Some time in the late 70s, Early 80s.
02 MTAJack Schafer & Joe Rizzo
00:00 / 02:54
03 Blow Boys BlowJack Schafer & Joe Rizzo
00:00 / 02:01
04 Jack's BreakdownJack Schafer & Joe Rizzo
00:00 / 00:46
05 Sloop John BJack Schafer & Joe Rizzo
00:00 / 03:49
06 Saro JaneJack Schafer & Joe Rizzo
00:00 / 02:17
07 Greenback DollarJack Schafer & Joe Rizzo
00:00 / 02:55
08 When the Saints Come Marching InJack Schafer & Joe Rizzo
00:00 / 03:21

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