Clarence Schaefer

Clarence Schaefer
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Clarence J. Schaefer, 93, of Belleville, IL, born June 27, 1924, on a farm southwest of Smithton, IL, died Thursday, May 17, 2018, at Memorial Hospital, Belleville, IL.

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;
eight great-grandchildren;
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

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.


7 Comments on Clarence Schaefer

Frank Cange said : Guest Report May 23, 2018 at 8:22 PM

To The Schaefer Family: I apologize for missing this Obit in the BND and not making it to the wake. I just saw your dad in church recently and did not know he was ill. He will be missed very much by all who knew him. He was such a hard working man who was so a good person and devote Catholic as well. I saw him at many blood drives over the years at St. A's. You have my sympathy and he will be in our prayers. I am having some masses said for him. Frank Cange & family

  • Belleville
  • IL
Joe & Kathleen Davis said : Guest Report May 21, 2018 at 6:22 PM

Steve, Sorry to learn of you father's passing. Our prayers are with you now and in the days to follow.

  • Linwood
  • Kansas
Mary & Bill Cordevant said : Guest Report May 21, 2018 at 1:37 PM

We send prayers to family in your loss of such a wonderful person. were times at the senior dances that he would dance each and every dance. He would tell interesting stories of their travels to dances . Prayers .

  • Baldwin
  • IL
Nancy (Schaefer) Rohde said : Guest Report May 20, 2018 at 9:43 PM

I can't be there today, but would like to extend our condolences to my cousins; Mickey, Dennis, Mary Ann and their families. I got a smile on my face when I saw Uncle Clarence's picture. He reminds me so much of my dad, Clem. I have so many nice memories of your dad always snapping pictures and of he and your mom dancing the polka at Smithon Turner Hall when we were kids. I know he will be missed. God's Peace, Nancy and Mark Rohde

  • High Ridge
  • MO
Audrey (Burns) and Dick Cygan said : Guest Report May 20, 2018 at 3:32 PM

Dear Steve and Verdell, On behalf of the Delmar and Bernice Burns family, please accept our deepest sympathy. Clarence and Vera were very good friends to our parents as well as being a cousin. Dad didn't have many relatives, so the Schaefer family was extra special. May your happy memories help you during this time of loss. Cousin Audrey

  • Fairview Heights
  • Illinois
Fred Norton said : Guest Report May 19, 2018 at 1:19 PM

Clarence will be missed at the Thursday country band dances. Everyone there loved him. He danced most of the dances. Heaven gained a dancer. Dance on, Clarence!

  • Belleville
  • IL
Diane Schaefer said : Guest Report May 18, 2018 at 7:23 PM

Clarence was my father n law for almost 20 years. I knew him as a man full of life never giving in to age or illness. He was funny and charming and I wish to have as much energy as he had up to the end....from my understanding his last request was a strawberry sundae (of which my husband and sibs supplied) - in short, he was a man that knew God and lived every moment God gave him on this earth to the fullest with zest and gratefulness. You will be missed Dad...xo

  • Phoenix
  • Arizona

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