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Charlie SchaafsmaJanuary 8, 1920 ~ November 17, 2017 (age 97)
Charlie Schaafsma died November 17, 2017 at the age of 97. He was born to Sybren and Klaaska Schaafsma on January 8, 1920 in Rock Rapids, Iowa. In his early childhood, his family moved to Doon, Iowa, along with his 9 brothers and sisters. His family were sharecroppers while they lived in Iowa. Charlie and his siblings attended school in a one room schoolhouse and often hunted and trapped while walking to and from school. Playing guitars and singing was another favorite pastime.
In 1936 Charlie’s family moved to California. They set out on Route 66 in 2 Model A Fords. Charlie always said his mother and sisters were so happy to be able to hang the clothes outside to dry all year round in California. Charlie’s father was a carpenter by trade in Holland, so he and the boys went to work building in California. Charlie met Wilma Fisher at the Dutch Reformed Church in Paramount California in 1941 and they were married in May of 1942.
During the early days of WWII, Charlie built ships in the shipyards of Long Beach, CA. He was drafted into the Army in February 1943 and served in N. Africa. When Charlie returned after the war, he and his brothers Tom, Pete, and John went back to the building business and became the Schaafsma Brother’s building contractors. Designing and building custom homes and dairy farms in the Artesia and Bellflower area.
In 1954 Charlie, Wilma and their four children moved to Enumclaw and purchased a dairy from the Sonneville’s out in the Osceola area. Eighty acres with a new home built by Charlie and a big beautiful barn that Charlie updated to a California design dairy. All while running the dairy and raising his family. Wilma and the kids worked along with Charlie on the farm until1963 when they sold their completed dairy to the Van Beek’s. Charlie wanted to build houses again. Wilma’s family were dairymen but Charlie loved designing and building. Charlie designed and built hundreds of homes, stores, and barns in and around the Enumclaw Plateau area. In1968 Charlie developed Melody Park in Enumclaw. You can still recognize many of Charlie Schaafsma’s homes with cupolas and other distinct features.
In his sixties Charlie built a home for he and Wilma and later built another smaller home in 1990. Never to sit still, Charlie played the guitar and wrote 100’s of songs that he often sang. He loved to create and in the1970s he held a patent for reprocessing manure into feed for cows. He worked at designing the “Cowdominium” a hub of several dairies feeding the reprocessed manure to the dairy cows. Ahead of its time, his idea is being used today. In his later years after much hearing loss and unable to play his guitar with aging hands, Charlie made leather tooled bracelets while sitting in his living room chair. Always busy.
Wilma and Charlie belonged to Country Bible Church and Wabash Church for many years. Charlie loved the gospel and shared his faith with many.
Charlie leaves behind the love of his life and wife of over 75 years, Wilma; daughter Charlene Felos; sons Ron (Faith) and Dan (Connie); daughter-in-law Alana; 7 grandchildren; 13 great grandchildren; sisters Helen Luckenbill and Janet Vander Weerd. He was preceded in death by his son Sam; 3 brothers; and 4 sisters.
Charlie will be laid to rest Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 10:30 AM at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent. A Celebration of Life Luncheon will be served following the burial at 12:00 PM at Wabash Presbyterian Church in Auburn. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Charlie’s memory to Plateau Outreach Ministry or a Christian Organization of the donor’s choice.