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Norman John Schafer, beloved husband of Raquel Mandziak, father to Tim, Tanya, and Todd Schafer, passed away July 11, 2022 at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre after a brief battle with cancer.
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Norman John Schafer, beloved husband of Raquel Mandziak, father to Tim, Tanya, and Todd Schafer, passed away July 11, 2022 at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre after a brief battle with cancer.
Norm was born in Yorkton on July 6, 1959 to William and Enid Schafer. He was welcomed as the 4th of eventually 5 children, and his parents’ second son.
As a child, Norm attended Burke School, Dr. Brass Junior High and St. Joseph Junior High. Much of his childhood was spent adventuring through the neighborhood with friends, finding creative ways to have fun and go home tired. In his teens he held a job in the Zellers Sporting Goods department, and by 1977, he completed Grade 12 and graduated from the Yorkton Regional High School. School came easy for Norm - he would get good grades with little effort, but knew he could always try harder.
In 1978, Norm met Cynthia Hanson and her son Timothy while employed as an orderly at the Yorkton Union Hospital, and they were married in August of 1980. Norm had ambitions to design and build their first Yorkton home with his own head and hands, and did - an accomplishment he remained proud of over the years.
In April 1981, their daughter Tanya was born, followed by their second son, Todd in October 1983. By this time, Norm and Cyndi decided that farm life was where they wanted to be, so by the spring of ‘84, they purchased their home quarter and moved to Sheho, SK where they would begin their life as farmers.
Norm learned the ropes of farming from his in-laws just up the road, as well as many close and beloved neighbours. He became a natural at farm affairs, from building corrals, horseback riding, wrangling cattle and driving implements. Despite not being a farm boy from birth, Norm approached every situation on the farm with a methodical mind, and any obstacle that presented itself he viewed as a challenge and opportunity to fix or improve what existed before - a quality he demonstrated through his lifetime. He volunteered his time as often as he could, through his kids’ 4-H program, during Rodeo Days, or just helping out a fellow neighbor. He was a curler and a rec hockey player, and was dang proud when the GX94 Kielbasa Cup stayed in his team’s dressing room.
While farming, Norm maintained full-time employment as an orderly at YUH, and then eventually as a Special Care Aide at Foam Lake Jubilee Home. Norm saw an opportunity to work in the Foam Lake Elementary and High schools that his kids attended, and was hired as a Special Tutor. This was one of the most rewarding positions he ever held, working one-on-one with a special needs student. An incredible friendship was formed, and a mutual lasting impact was made. Norm also provided some groundskeeper services while at the high school, where students enjoyed hearing “Norm’s beats” during class hours.
After 17 years of marriage, Norm and Cindy divorced and farm life was done. Norm moved back to the city with his daughter Tanya in 1999, and would start a new position as a Special Needs Assistant in an alternative education classroom at the YRHS. Here he taught basic life skills to students with various behavioral, academic and physical challenges. He could share his working knowledge of hand and power tools, teaching students how to produce and finish various wood crafts. He also tutored others in Science and Math, pushing them to make previously unseen academic gains. And here, he met co-worker Raquel. Their working relationship soon developed into a romantic one, and over the next couple years, they merged their lives and decided to share a home.
Now seeking year-round employment, Norm joined Weber’s Construction in 2001 as a Yard Man. He appreciated the management of this local business, and worked hard at this physically demanding job. By 2003, he was ready to try something else. After wetting his feet in sales at Sears, Norm returned to Weber’s, this time in furniture and appliance sales. He was known for never being pushy, was honest and informative, and would often explain to a customer why not to buy something they were considering. The business changed hands in 2011, becoming McMunn & Yates, and Norm stayed on until June 2022, when his deteriorating health got in the way.
Throughout his personal and work lives, Norm’s excellent work ethic, logical and creative mind, and conscientiousness to make things better were quietly admired. He was an avid fiction reader, and many a weekend Norm could be found curled up with the family dog and an e-reader in hand. He enjoyed the competitive cribbage marathons spent with his father-in-law Julian and brother-in-law, Wade, weekly card nights with his lifelong friends Rusty, Larry, Sheldon, (and later Jim) and was always up for a round of King’s Cribbage, dice or board game with Raquel and family. Norm set up a small and very sawdusty basement workshop, where he could materialize projects from his head and bring them to life. He was always flattered when a family member asked he construct a stool, side table or bench, and he always enjoyed the challenge of using what he had.
Norm was most proud when his eldest son and daughter each tied the knot, eventually starting families of their own. Norm was blessed with 6 grandkids, including twins, and any opportunity to visit, attend tournaments and recitals, and celebrate milestones was cherished.
Norm was predeceased by his parents William and Enid Schafer, nephew Chad Schafer, brothers-in-law Lauren Brenner and Doug Kobitz, and former in-laws Lorne, Dale, Peggy and Diane Hanson.
He leaves to mourn and celebrate his life: wife Raquel, son Tim (Deedra), daughter Tanya (Brad) and son Todd.; sister Sandra (Terry), brother Richard (Deb), sister Gail, sister Kathy (Linus); in-laws Julian and Vienna, Ursula (Wade), Brad (Julie Ann), Kristen; Grandchildren Tira, Tanner, Dalanna, Dezlyn, Caleb and Camryn; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, all of who added to Norman’s life.
Thank you to the attending staff who treated Norman during his time at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider a donation to SaskAbilities.
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