Cover photo for James Olin  Shaffer Sr.'s Obituary
James Olin  Shaffer Sr. Profile Photo
1919 James 2023

James Olin Shaffer Sr.

January 6, 1919 — January 20, 2023

James Olin Shaffer Sr., 104yrs old of Cortland, Ohio passed away on January 20, 2023 at Concord Care Center of Cortland.

Known as Jim to family and friends, he was born the son of Oliver and Genevieve (Thomas) Shaffer in Franklin, Pennsylvania on January 6, 1919.

Jim grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. He graduated from East High School in 1938 and soon after entered the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Later Jim became employed at U.S Steel where he worked until he was drafted into the Army. When Jim entered World War II in June of 1944 at the age of 25, he was married and had two small children.

Jim served in Europe as a Private First Class, Company B, 53rd Armored Infantry Battalion, 4th Armored Division under General George Patton. During his tour of duty, he served in the Rhineland Ardennes Campaign including the Battle of the Bulge, also often referred to by one word – “Bastogne”. He was rated as a Carbine Expert, which identified him as an expert rifleman who accompanied armored tanks in battle.

Early in 1946, Jim was discharged from the United States Army and enrolled in Youngstown College where he attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. During those college years, he worked at U.S. Steel as a Power and Fuel Engineer in the State of Ohio. Throughout his career of more than 40 years in northeastern Ohio, Jim’s work concentrated on designing steel mill processing equipment.

Jim was good at recognizing changes in his chosen field. When computers were introduced to revolutionize the speed and efficiency of the engineering design process, he purchased a computer kit, assembled the computer, and taught himself to use CAD software to stay current with the changes that would continue to evolve during his career.

Though he retired in his late 60’s, he continued to work as a consultant in his field. He was often asked to update mills and equipment that he had originally designed. Finally at 88 Jim, who was an accomplished golfer, did retire to enjoy frequent golf league outings until his mid-nineties.

Jim had a memorable tenor voice and through the years sang at many weddings and church services. He was an outstanding example of what has become known as “The Greatest Generation”.

Jim is survived by his life partner, Florence Rutledge, who has shared 35 happy years with him. In recent years she has become the anchor of his days, as well as, his loving companion and caretaker.

Jim leaves behind his three children, Joyce (Charles) Ditchendorf, Marietta, Ohio, Paul (Cheryl) Shaffer, Miami, Florida, and Cynthia (Alan) Hostetler, Dublin, Ohio. He was preceded in death by his son, James Olin Shaffer, Jr.

Jim took great pride in his eight grandchildren, Heidi (Marge) Poscher, Beth Ditchendorf, Charles F. (Carolyn) Ditchendorf, James (Vanessa) Shaffer, Jodi (Michael) Martin, Jennifer Shaffer Walton, Paul (Andrea) Shaffer, Bryce Hostetler, and Nash Hostetler.

As the next generation of great-grandchildren were born into the family, Jim welcomed each one with joy; Clare Laughery, Nick Laughery, Caleb Clark, Cyrus (Emma) Ditchendorf, Elijah Ditchendorf, Lily Ditchendorf, Samuel Shaffer, Benjamin Shaffer, Adam Hersey, Molly Walton, Daniel (Abbie) Walton, Nicole Shaffer, Christopher Shaffer, and great-great granddaughter Zoe Ditchendorf. He was loved by many nieces and nephews; Moisons, Shaffers, and Kelleys.

A memorial service will be held on February 4, 2023 at 12 noon at Gibson Heights Second Presbyterian Church, 755 E. Dewey, Youngstown, OH, where Jim worshipped.

He loved God and felt God’s love. He is Home.

Arrangements were entrusted with Lane Family Funeral Homes Shafer Winans Chapel in Cortland.

Family and friends may send their heartfelt condolences by visiting

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Olin Shaffer Sr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Gibson Heights 2nd Presbyterian Church

755 East Dewey Avenue, Youngstown, OH 44502

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