Helen M. Shaffer -- Rochester

February 24, 2019

Helen M. Shaffer, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, died Feb. 20, 2019, at age 91, in Rochester at Samaritan Bethany Long Term Care, surrounded by loving family. She was grateful to have celebrated such a full life, with many wonderful years and birthdays.

Helen Myrtle Hays was born on Sept. 4, 1927, in Franklin Township, Pa., to Charles and Mary Baker Hays. She attended schools in Slippery Rock, Pa., and graduated from New Castle High School in 1945. She attended Westminster College as a vocal music major. She married her high-school sweetheart, Dale Shaffer, on May 22, 1948, and they celebrated 57 wonderful years together. They moved to Rochester in 1950 and made their home in northeast, surrounded by wonderful longtime neighbors and friends.

Her life was always full of music and love. She sang in church and community chorale groups, played piano for church choirs, preschools and nursing homes, and was a frequent soloist in her church. She and Dale often sang duets, and for many years regaled the Valentine Banquet at their church, Evangel United Methodist, with programs of love songs. She also played in various jazz ensembles, Helen at piano and Dale on trumpet. But her favorite role of all was wife and mother. Helen was never happier than when she was baking cookies or caramel rolls, sewing or crocheting clothes for sons or grandchildren, or delighting in the sounds of live music and laughter in her home.

Helen was predeceased by her parents, Charles and Mary Baker Hays; her sister, Janet Hopkins; and the love of her life, husband, Dale, in 2005. Her survivors include three sons, Daniel (Janet) of Seattle, David (Patricia) of Rochester, and Thomas (Dori) of Hollidaysburg, Pa.; as well as the sunshine of her life, her four grandchildren, Renata, Petra, Ali and Lee, their spouses and partners. She is also survived by nieces, cousins, longtime neighbors and faithful friends who will miss her dearly.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25, at Evangel United Methodist Church, Rochester. A time of visitation to greet Helen’s family will be held the hour prior to the memorial service. Please join the family in the church’s fellowship hall for a light lunch immediately following the service. The interment of ashes will be private.

The family wishes to thank the caring staff at Samaritan Bethany and Seasons Hospice. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorial gifts be made to the Dale Shaffer Outstanding Alumni Award at Mayo Clinic (Checks made payable to Mayo Clinic). As Helen would say, “Bless your heart!”

To leave a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes, 5421 Royal Place NW, Rochester, MN 55901; 507-289-3600.