Fundraising dinner and drinks, entertainment, and a live auction to celebrate the life and art of Mark Shafer.
Mark Shafer was a truly gifted individual with a wonderful sense of humor and great attitude towards life. With expertise in so many areas, he was constantly called upon for facts, educated opinions and colorful anecdotes from a vast store of knowledge.
He was born in 1949 to parents Keith and Mary Evelyn Shafer, and he and his 3 brothers Herb, Lynn and Allan, all grew up on a farm south of Fairfield. At the age of 5, Mark developed polio, a year before the vaccine was discovered. Near death several times, the constant struggle of adversity seems to have lifted him to a higher level.
He attended the University of Iowa where he met Susan Anderson, and they married in 1972. Mark did graduate work at The University of Northern Iowa. He was an elementary teacher in Fairfield Community Schools for 10 years, spent 10 years as a special education teacher at the middle school, and 14 years as the high school art teacher.
Mark was said to befriend everyone and was called fun-loving, carefree, and goofy by his students enrolled in his FHS Art classes. Many kids said they might have dropped out of school if it weren’t for Mr. Shafer. He was the junior class sponsor and shared in the Prom plans for many years. He created a new class at FHS: Digital Photography, and had students create a display that was at the “Iowa Events Center – Hall of Pride” in Des Moines.
While teaching high school art he was involved in many Fairfield High School Community Public Service Art projects. Those projects included the Lions Club Paper Mache mascot restoration, “The Four Seasons” Barn Quilt, BNSF Pedestrian Bridge, Louden Machinery Company tile project, Save Bikeway signage, Art Association Mural at the Senior Citizen site, Court House Centennial model with slot for steeple restoration donations, Lord’s Cupboard sign, and FHS Wall of Honor Coat of Arms.
Mark received many much-deserved awards throughout his lifetime including Harper Brush Foundation Teacher of the Year in 2004, Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2006, Fairfield Entrepreneurs Association Volunteer of the Year in 2015 and FHS Wall of Honor in 2016.
Always displaying an exceptional art talent, he studied in Venice, Italy, and was a founding member of the Fairfield Art Association in 1966. He was actively involved with the now 57-year-old organization, serving as Vice-President, instructing Art Classes, Art Camps and moderating exhibit openings with guest artists.
Many called Mark “Mr. History”. He liked old things and was very involved in many restoration projects. He was constantly getting letters, phone calls and emails from people all over needing historical information or advice. He was involved in getting Fairfield named to “Great Places in Iowa”.
Chairman of the Jefferson County Preservation Commission, Mark dedicated himself to restoring the Bonnifield Cabin. He contributed to the Maasdam Barns project and archeological assistance with the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center site. Important documentation of the Barhydt Chapel was captured with Mark’s expertise on camera.
A storehouse of things worth knowing, a passionate historian of Fairfield, an engaging and committed teacher, and a talented artist; Mark Shafer was a Fairfield community treasure to be honored and celebrated.