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I’m reminded as I write this of a most profound statement.

A dear friend of mine told me once, that when his father was dying, and the family was hoping, his father looked at him and said, “Everyone gets a turn.”

It’s so true.

A friend from my childhood passed on this week at the age of 61.

Way too soon for his turn.

Healthy, happy, a fulfilled life; suddenly and unexpectedly over.

Just way too soon.

I’ve known Chris Schaeffer since I was in the first grade.

We were neighbors of sorts, his family living around the corner from Pollyanna Avenue.  My mother and his were friends.

His youngest brother, Andy,  stayed at our house when his mom ran errands, shopped, and worked.

Chris and his three brothers, Mike, John, and Andy were around, just part of the landscape.

Schaeffer Boys

Throughout school, Chris was not just one of the smart kids, he was THE smart kid, winding UP as the valedictorian of our class, and giving a commencement speech.

Chris Schaeffer

I don’t remember exactly what he said that day, but knowing Chris, his UPbringing, and his family’s philosophy, it was along the lines of “we are the future” or “we are the ones to make change”.  It contained a vision, ideals, dreams, and hopes.

And although our paths diverged after school and college, the memories of childhood bonded us as they do everyone who spends twelve years growing UP together.

My earliest memory is a birthday party.  New Year’s Eve on his seventh birthday, his mom, obviously a brave woman,  took seven or eight first graders to the Bi Jo to see Darby O’Gill and The Little PeopleSean Connery, horses, leprechauns, and several terrified boys for a sleepover! Brave indeed.

When I needed glasses, his father, Phil, arranged for the Lion’s Club to pay for the exam, the frames, and the lenses.

It’s just the kind of people they were.

Chris was the President and Founder of Schaeffer Engineering, an active member of the Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio and the Home Builders Association of Miami Valley.

He was a son.

A brother.

A husband.

A dad.

And a friend.

As time passes, I seem to be doing posts like this far too often.  I don’t like it.

And, along with everyone in Germantown, I’m reminded again of my own mortality, life’s fragility, and the brevity of our time here.

And we’re all reminded that everyone gets a turn.


The family will receive friends on Tuesday, August 13 from 5PM to 7PM at Newcomer South Chapel on Kettering Blvd. in Kettering. A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 11 AM at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Kettering.

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