The second of nine children born to Jacob Jr. and Bertha, nee Schilling, Schaefer, Clarence attended St. John the Baptist Catholic Grade School, Smithton, IL, for eight years, continued ninth and tenth grades in the public-school system in Smithton, and finished at Township High School in Belleville, IL. Prior to being drafted into the U.S. Air Force on July 6, 1943, he worked for the Swift Packing Company in East St. Louis, IL. After his discharge in 1946, Clarence attended the National School of Retail Meat Cutting in Toledo, OH, and worked for the Kroger Company for 40 years.
During World War II, Clarence trained for top turret gunner on a B24 bomber. As he did not serve overseas during World War II due to illness, he joined the reserves and was recalled during the Korean War on May 1,1951 and was assigned to a B29 base at Castle Air Force Base, Merced, CA, where he worked until his discharge on January 31, 1953.
He continued his education and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in retailing from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. Clarence also worked as a photographer, capturing wedding memories of many, many couples. He and his wife Vera enjoyed dancing and attended polka festivals throughout the United States. A member of the Catholic War Veterans, he was also a member of St. Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Church, Belleville, IL, and was active in two rosary groups at the church.
Clarence was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Vera M., nee Smerek, Schaefer, whom he married on September 21, 1948, and who died on July 5, 2016; his parents; five brothers, Joseph (Dorothy) Schaefer, Clement (Rita) Schaefer, Victor (Loretta) Schaefer, Oliver (Norma) Schaefer, and Leon (Shirley) Schaefer; three sisters, Lucille (Charles) Pauketat and Elizabeth (John) Vernier; and a brother-in-law, Marcellus Fehlker.
Surviving are two sons, Stephen Michael Schaefer (Tammy Seiber), and Dennis Michael (Diane) Schaefer;
one daughter, Mary Ann Schaefer;
eight grandchildren, David M. Schaefer, Jason Schaefer, Amanda J. (Philip) Bischoff, Jessica N. Penny, Neil Schaefer, Kimberly Schaefer, and twins, Matthew and Mark Schaefer;
a sister, Verdell Fehlker;
and nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois or to the Butz-Jobe Post 370 Catholic War Veterans. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may visit with the family from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, May 20, 2018, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL. A Catholic War Veterans ritual will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. Friends may also visit from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday, May 21, 2018, at St. Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Church, Belleville, IL.
Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 21, 2018, at St. Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Church, Belleville, IL, with Msgr, William McGhee officiating.
Burial with military honors will follow at Lake View Memorial Gardens, Fairview Heights, IL.