William Wakefield Schaefer
August 1937 ~ June 2018
William Wakefield Schaefer died at age 80 on June 13th of cancer at his home and farm in Delhi, California. He is survived by his wife Kathleen O’Toole Schaefer after 48 years of marriage, and his son Bruce Schaefer by his first wife Patricia Graff. Bruce and his wife Debbie live in Lowell, Oregon and have two grown children (Bill’s grandchildren) Iain and Brenna Schaefer. He is also survived by two brothers, George Schaefer of Ft Myers Beach, Florida and John Schaefer of Modesto. He leaves behind his niece Colby Schaefer Nichol of Laguna Niguel, nephew John Schaefer of Lansdowne, Virginia, and niece Carol Schaefer Davis of Modesto. Bill has three great nieces, Sophia, Simone, and Grace, and three great nephews, Tai, Wyatt, and Aidan. He was predeceased by his parents and a younger brother, David Schaefer.
Bill was born in San Jose Hospital on August 20, 1937 to William Schaefer and Ione Wakefield Schaefer and reared in Sunnyvale, California. He graduated from Fremont High School, attended Humboldt State University, and graduated from Oregon State University where he was Named the Outstanding Horticultural University Student in the Nation, receiving the National Burpee Seed Award.
Bill worked for the Oregon State University Mid-Columbia Branch Experiment Station in Hood River, Oregon and Oregon State University Seed Certification Program in Corvallis, Oregon before moving back to California to work for the University of California, Pomology Department, in Davis, California. He later worked for Fowler Nursery (a wholesale tree nursery) in Lincoln, California before purchasing some acreage to do what he loved most, growing food, something he did as a kid. He and his wife Kathy sold a variety of wonderful fruit, nuts, and vegetables to lucky folks at local Farmers’ Markets. Bill was a member, and served on the Board of Directors of the Merced Certified Farmers’ Market for over 35 years. He was also a member of the California Rare Fruit Growers. He had many interests, including gardening, fishing, basketball, reading, writing (keeping a daily journal, as most farmers do), gold panning, and collected coins and stamps. He loved animals, especially birds and dogs, giving many stray dogs a long lasting and loving home. Bill will be remembered as friendly, humble, pleasant and liked by all.
Immediate family only memorial service to be arranged. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Covenant Care Hospice, 125 North Broadway in Turlock or the American Cancer Society.