George R. Shaffer
A bright light has gone out of our lives.
George Robert Shaffer peacefully slipped away from us on Friday, February 2, 2018 due to complications from pneumonia. George, the youngest child of E.H. and Elizabeth Shaffer, came into this world on April 14, 1932 at St. Joseph Hospital in Albuquerque, delivered by Dr. William R. Lovelace. He grew up in Albuquerque, attending Monte Vista Elementary, Jefferson Junior High, and graduated in 1950 from Albuquerque High School.
After graduation, he enrolled at UNM, where he joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and as a pledge helped to build their house on Mesa Vista. As a senior, he was elected SAE President, an early sign that he was destined to be a leader. George was also in the Naval ROTC program at UNM, and would graduate in 1954 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He then served as a Lt. (JG), based at Pearl Harbor, and his commission included witnessing hydrogen bomb testing at Bikini Atoll.
When he returned to Albuquerque, he met the love of his life, Nancy. They were married for 57 years. As a newlywed, he embarked on a successful career in the insurance business. Starting from the ground up in 1960, he worked hard to successfully build three separate insurance agencies, ultimately selling two of the firms in the 1990s, while the third business, Market Finders, Inc., continues as the only locally owned Managing General Agency in New Mexico, now being run by his son Steve.
George was active in all aspects of the insurance business, and served as a champion for the industry. He was President of the Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico (1969-1970), and State National Director (1980-1990), proudly representing New Mexico at the national association. At the national level, he was Vice President (Zone III) of the American Association of Managing General Agents (2000-2001). In addition, he was extensively involved in several leadership roles with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association of America (IIABA), the association representing more than a quarter million agents/brokers and their employees in all fifty states. He chaired the Government Affairs Committee (1987-1989) and was elected to serve on the IIABA Executive Committee in 1990, culminating with a term as President (1995-1996). In this role he was a tireless advocate for the insurance community, attending and speaking at conventions around the country, and testifying before U.S. Senate and House committees on behalf of the industry.
George was a real “doer” who was also an active force outside of the insurance industry. In 1986 he served as a Board member on President Reagan’s White House Conference on Small Business. From 1986-1987 he was a Board member on the New Mexico Real Estate Commission. He served as a New Mexico State Senator in 1970. In addition, he was a member of the New Mexico Amigos, supporting and attracting economic development for the State.
In the local community, he was President of the Better Business Bureau of Albuquerque (1979-1980) and sat on the Board of the United Way of Albuquerque (1981-1983). From 1980 to 1995, he served on the Albuquerque Academy Board of Trustees. It was in 1984, during his tenure on the Board, when the Academy’s transformational West Campus expansion took place, where George’s grandchildren Sarah and Max were students some 25 years later.
George was an avid golfer, and played at the finest courses, including Pebble Beach, the Broadmoor, the Greenbriar, Sea Island, Kapalua, and St. Andrews in Scotland. George and Nancy were able to travel the world, and they had so much fun together! George was always the life of the party, and his energy, warm personality, and legendary sense of humor enlivened everyone around him.
The phrase “People Person” should be defined as: George Shaffer. He was quite the charmer, and everyone who met him instantly felt his loving spirit and genuine kindness. He will be missed greatly, but leaves us all with so many wonderful and unforgettable memories.
George touched many lives, making friends all along the way. He was a kind, generous and very decent man, helping out people whenever he could. To know George was to love him.
George is survived by his wife, Nancy; sons, Steve, his wife Dini; Richard; David, his wife Yvette; and grandchildren, Maxwell, Sarah, Ruby, Liam, and Jude. He is also survived by his sister in-law, Marjorie Lalicker, several nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as by countless friends.
A Memorial Service will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 215 Locust St. NE. The family suggests the following memorials: Sandia Presbyterian Church, 10704 Paseo Del Norte NE, Albuquerque NM 87122; or the UNM Foundation in support of Lobo Football, Two Woodward Center, 700 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque NM 87102.
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