Nature 28

Francis William Schafer, Jr.

February 20, 1949 ~ June 19, 2023 (age 74) 74 Years Old


Francis William Schafer, Jr., better known to everyone as “Bill”, passed away peacefully at home, in West Seattle, on June 19, 2023, after a long battle with glioblastoma cancer.  He was 74 years old.  Bill was born on February 20, 1949 in Aberdeen, Washington.  He was the second child of Frank and Jane Schafer, a grandson of Hubert Schafer, one of the founders of Schafer Brothers Logging Company, and a great-grandson of Satsop Valley pioneers, John D. and Anna Schafer. Bill grew up in Aberdeen, Washington where he attended St. Mary’s School and graduated from Weatherwax High School in 1967. As a child, he enjoyed spending summers at the family vacation homeon Hood Canal, where his favorite activities were boating and water-skiing with his siblings. Bill was on the swim team in high school, and he lettered in the sport. During that time, he and his brother, John, took scuba diving lessons and became certified divers. After graduating, Bill attended the University of Washington, where he joined Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business. During college, he was part of the Semester at Sea program and traveled around the tip of South America.

Bill’s boyhood love for making model airplanes grew into a passion for flying.  Beginning with hang-gliding in high school, he quickly moved on to flying small planes, earned his pilot’s license and also a license to fly float planes.  This allowed him to fly his dad, Frank, to remote locations in Canada to look at logs to purchase for the family mill. Later, Bill became a pilot for Lake Union Air Service in Seattle, and he would fly passengers to fishing resorts in Canada, in addition to other locations. 

Bill was an avid fisherman throughout his life. When he was young, he enjoyed accompanying his dad, Frank, on fishing trips to River’s Inlet in Canada.  As an adult, one of his favorite things was to fly his Cesna 180 down the coast to California, where he would chase salmon with his brother-in-law Carl, and nephew Greg, out in Monterey Bay, in Carl’s fishing boat.  He would typically fly back home with lots of salmon to share with his family and friends. 

Another of Bill’s passions was scuba diving. After getting his commercial diving license, he worked for a while on oil rigs along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Scuba diving continued to be a big part of his life, and he traveled the world to all of the very best dive spots, with the South Pacific and Caribbean being his favorites. He and Barbara would usually do several dive trips every year, along with their diver friends.  During these trips Bill developed his love for underwater photography and became quite skilled at it.  Many of his incredibly beautiful photos hung in his parents’ home.

In the 1980s Bill and his brothers, John and Mike, moved the Rainforest Shake and Shingle Mill from Hoquiam to Burlington, Washington. Their dad, Frank, was proud to see a new generation of Schafer brothers working together in the family business. Bill was the electrician for the mill and did all of the wiring for the machinery.

Later, his interest in computers led to work as a computer programmer for several companies, positions he held for about twenty years.

Bill will be lovingly remembered by family and friends for his great sense of humor, his funny stories and his loud and distinctive laugh. They will also remember his striking cornflower blue eyes and that trademark bushy mustache. 

His survivors include his partner and lifelong love, Barbara McConnell;  his mother, Jane Schafer;  his brothers, John Schafer (Karen) and Mike Schafer (Tracey);  his sisters, Patty Paulsen and Sue Schafer; his brother-in-law, Steve Paskal;  his eleven nieces and nephews: Amy, Greg, Emily, Anna, Elliott, Stefanie, Madelyn, Molly, Nick, Matthew and Alex;  his eight great-nieces and nephews;   numerous cousins, friends and his loving caregivers: Kelly, Elizabeth, Jane G, Jane N and Daizy.

Bill was pre-deceased by his father, Francis William “Frank” Schafer, Sr.; his sister, Mary Kathryn “Katy” Schafer Paskal; hisbrother-in-law, Carl Paulsen; and his grandparents, Hubert and Bertha Schafer, and George and Beulah McGannon.


A Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in West Seattle, on Friday, July 7th, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception in the parish hall. 

Private burial will take place at Fern Hill Cemetery, Aberdeen, in the Schafer Family section.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.


To share your condolences and memories of Bill, please visit his Tribute Wall, located above. 


- Care Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home -




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Funeral Mass
July 7, 2023

11:00 AM
Holy Rosary Catholic Church

Please note
Reception to follow in the parish hall.


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856


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