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Our Town -- Shaffer loves sports, cruises

November 15, 2004|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note: There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like ...

Joe Shaffer

Age: 89 (will be 90 on Valentine's Day 2005)

Occupation: Retired lineman for Chesapeake & Potomac phone company

Hometown: Hagerstown

Where would you see Shaffer? Shaffer has been a member of the Hagerstown YMCA since 1979 and says he's gone faithfully ever since. He gets up at 6 a.m. to meet his "cronies" five days a week for an early-morning workout.

Shaffer walks on the treadmill and does upper-body exercises with weights, counting everything he does.

"He said it's added 10 years to his life, but now he's changed that to 15" said Shaffer's wife, Charlotte.

Shaffer, who lives on Dover Drive in Hagerstown, has long been an athlete. The 1934 Hagerstown High School graduate was a pitcher for the school's baseball team.

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In his senior year of high school, Shaffer's team played the University of Maryland freshman team and Shaffer, a lefty, had them "beat until the last inning." It turns out Maryland was looking for a left-handed pitcher and offered Shaffer a scholarship, which he passed up.

Instead, Shaffer pitched for local leagues, including the Washington County League for Mt. Briar, then pitched for the Blue Ridge League until he was picked up by a Detroit Tigers farm team. He played in the New York-Penn League in Charleroi, Pa., and made $75 a month.

Shaffer played for one year, then quit to marry his first wife, Jane, in 1937. They had a son and a daughter, three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

After Jane's death in 1974, Shaffer married Charlotte Clemson of Walkersville, Md., and they've been married almost 16 years. Shaffer met Charlotte, 67, who has two grown sons, through a travel club.

Shaffer was employed by Potomac Edison for 10 years, then worked for 35 years as a supervisor for Chesapeake & Potomac, retiring in 1980. Sports always have been in the forefront of Shaffer's life. His talent was recognized when he was inducted into the Washington County Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.

He was instrumental in starting Federal Little League, and coached American and Federal Little League teams for 15 years.

Shaffer was on the Washington County Youth Commission. He also coached in the Hagerstown Junior Basketball League and served for two terms as league president.

Hobbies: Travel, exercise and the Baltimore Orioles. He also enjoys playing cards and loves University of Maryland football, and watching the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins.

"If there's a ball connected with it, I like it," Shaffer said.

What does Shaffer like best about Washington County? "I think it's a wonderful place to live. I like the size of it," Shaffer said.

The Shaffers have been on 12 cruises and traveled to just about every state, including Hawaii, which makes Joe appreciate home even more.

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