GRAND DETOUR – Leland C. Shoaf, a wise and wonderful, good-hearted man, died early Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale, Colo. He was 90.5 years young.
Lee was born on July 16, 1922, in Waterloo, Iowa, the only child of Leland and Monica Shoaf. He was raised in Iowa and Illinois before graduating from Ronald Reagan’s alma mater, Dixon High School in Dixon, where he was a star athlete in both football and track.
He also attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1942, where he honorably served as a first lieutenant reconnaissance pilot flying a P-51 Mustang in World War II. Lee continued to love flying and airplanes his entire life.
After the war, Lee returned home to Dixon, where he met and married Dixon High School’s newest English and Spanish teacher, Elizabeth Seales. The newlyweds moved to the nearby quaint village of Grand Detour, where they raised three children, Lee “Trip” of Schaumburg; Jeffrey, Aspen, Colo.; and Lezlie, Durango, Colo. Many of the parents in the village had a bell they would ring for their children to come for dinner, but Lee would just whistle and the kids would come running. After the marriage ended, Lee was married to Barb Senneff for a few years.
Lee successfully owned and operated Shoaf Advertising Agency for more than 20 years and then later in life moved to Rockford, where he worked with his son, Lee, at CCS Flooring. In 2003, he retired to Aspen, Colo., where he pursued his love of skiing and hunting in the mountains. He lived in a restored 1880s era, cozy cabin next to his son Jeff and affectionately earned the nickname, “Pappy.” He was known for sitting on the front porch of the cabin and calling out encouragement to anyone who walked or bicycled by on Neale Avenue. This is how he met so many of the neighborhood folks, including Art Dilworth, his loyal and true friend, who was by his side until the end.
Pappy was a member of the Aspen Elks Lodge No. 224, where he had the proud distinction of being one of the longest members in good standing. He was also an avid trapshooter and often spent his weekends at the Lake Christine Shooting Range in Basalt shooting trap with his good buddies. When he was in his 80s, Pappy represented the Aspen Lodge in a statewide trap-shooting tournament and brought a trophy home to the Lodge.
In addition to his three children, Pappy’s survivors include his son-in-law, John Mayer of Durango, and his three granddaughters, Natalie Mayer of Aspen; Emily Mayer Jackson (Brian) of Denver and Elizabeth Shoaf of Schaumburg.
When asked about his father, Jeff said, “Pappy was a special man who touched a lot of people and was loved by many and he will be missed. ... But what a full and wonderful life he had!” As always, Pappy wishes peace, love and blessings to everyone.
A burial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Grand Detour Cemetery, with a reception following at the home of Sarah and Matt Henry.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to HomeCare and Hospice of the Valley, 455 Golden Rivers Court, PO Box 3768, Basalt, CO 81621.