Cover photo for Wendell Royce Shaffer's Obituary
Wendell Royce Shaffer Profile Photo
1938 Wendell 2023

Wendell Royce Shaffer

October 1, 1938 — July 24, 2023

Lee's Summit



A Brief History of Wendell Shaffer


Wendell Royce Shaffer was born on October 1, 1938, to Velma Bensch Shaffer and Wilson Shaffer in Velma's mother's farmhouse southeast of Chester, Oklahoma. Wendell attended school in Orion, a one-room schoolhouse a couple of miles north of his folks' farm. Transportation to school was by foot or horseback (allegedly uphill both ways).

As a stellar, albeit lonely 3rd grader, Wendell was promoted from 3rd to 4th grade early, as he was the only 3rd grader. Wendell's promotion brought the 4th grade student roster up to 3!

Starting in 6th grade, he attended Seiling Public schools and graduated from Seiling High School (Go Wildcats!) in 1955. While at SHS, Wendell sang in choir, was active in FFA, played coronet in band and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. One can assume he attended classes as well.

Wendell enrolled in college at Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma State University, at the tender age of 16 due to his advanced elementary status.

While at OSU, he met Judy Francis, a bright, young co-ed from the big city (ok, it was Oklahoma City, but still). After a brief but sincere courtship, Judy, began to question Wendell’s romantic intentions while the university began to question his academic intentions. The Dean of the College of Business suggested he pursue practical agricultural endeavors back on the farm while pondering future educational options before returning to Stillwater. A semester away from academia and Judy proved to be just too much to bear. Upon returning to Stillwater, Wendell pursued higher education with a passion matched only by his pursuit of Judy! (The man was smitten.)

Back at OSU and aiming for success, Wendell joined ROTC and discovered that if you were in the ROTC Band you didn't have to clean a rifle. While playing in the OSU Pep Band, he scored free basketball tickets, and even got to see the Cowboys defeat the KU Jayhawks and some kid named Wilt Chamberlin.

Wendell eventually graduated from OSU with a degree in Business Administration in 1960 and proceeded to join the Air Force Reserves in August of that same year.

On March 25, 1961, he and Judy made their commitment to each other official in a double-ringed ceremony attended by exactly 35 people due to seating limitations at the venue (It was a church; venues had not been invented yet). Between 1962 and 1965, daughters Melanie and Suzanne doubled the Shaffer household numbers, necessitating a series of residence changes over the years.

While in the Reserves, Airman Shaffer served in several assignments prior to receiving a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant and retired in 1990 as a Lieutenant Colonel assigned to the Secretary of the Air Force with his last assignment at the Pentagon.

After his training in the reserves, Wendell started working for Continental Oil Company (Conoco) and, after 35 years, retired as the Office Manager of the refinery in Ponca City, Oklahoma.

After retiring from Conoco, Wendell served as a volunteer tax preparer with AARP, a deacon at several churches including First Baptist of Lee’s Summit. He also volunteered at St. Luke's East Hospital in Lee's Summit for many years and was a card-carrying member of SPPBSQSUS (Society for the Preservation and Propagation of Barbershop Quartet Singing in the United States). 

Wendell owed much of his success to his little sisters: Phyllis, (who may retell a story of him accidentally setting her hair on fire), and Arlene, who could beat him in Bensch Rummy every time. 

Wendell enjoyed trailer camping, road running, woodworking, coin collecting, coffee drinking, pie eating, Barbershop quartet singin', OSU Cowboy rootin', Louis L'amour readin', boot wearin', flag wavin', grandkid and great grandkid spoilin', story tellin', card playin', puzzle workin', gold tooth havin', dollar coin passin’, Bible readin’, corny joke tellin’, tune whistlin’, short-cut takin’ cowboy hat wearin’ and Jesus worshippin'.

Seriously, this in no way captures all of Wendell’s highlights (e.g., his excellent sons-in-law Chuck and Jack, were inadvertently omitted), but it hopefully gives you a peek into the wonderful man that he was. Perhaps you have learned something new or you have something to add. Either way, please let Judy or one of the family members know.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Wendell Royce Shaffer, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, August 12, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

First Baptist Church of Lee's Summit

2 NE Douglas St, Lee's Summit, MO 64063

Guests are invited to enjoy Wendell's favorite treats, coffee and pie, during a visitation of fellowship immediately following his celebration.

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