Public works facility named for the late David Shaffer

Signage unveiled at the dedication of the David H. Shaffer Jr. Public Works Facility in Lower Providence Oct. 4, 2013. Shaffer, the Public Works Director, passed away earlier this year. Lower Providence named the township’s public works facility and the road leading to the site after Shaffer who worked for the township for 28 years. Photo by Gene Walsh / 21st Century Media

LOWER PROVIDENCE ­­— Township officials and the family of the late David H. Shaffer Jr. honored the former public works director on Oct. 4 by naming the township public works facility and the entrance driveway for him.

New signs for “David Shaffer Drive” and the “David H. Shaffer Jr. Public Works Facility” were unveiled along with a new memorial bench located behind the facility.

“This building was his second home. He said he would rather be out on the road rather than being in the office,” said Barbara Shaffer, the younger daughter of Shaffer. “To see the bench, the public works facility and the road named after him is so heartwarming for us.”

Tanya Shaffer-Nace, the older daughter of Shaffer, stood next to Barbara Shaffer as she spoke to 13 public works employees, several dozen residents and township officials. The mother of David Shaffer, Helen, and his sister, Dorothy McGuigan, attended the brief ceremony with McGuigan’s husband, Richard III and son, Richard II. Shaffer-Nace’s husband, Frank, and their children, Trent and Jocelyn, also were at the ceremony.

“Today is a bittersweet day for all of us. On the one hand we mourn the loss of a dedicated public servant, co-worker, father, son, husband, brother and good friend to many of us,” said Supervisors’ Chairman Richard Brown. “On the other hand we celebrate the many great contributions that Dave has made to the township and its residents over many years.”

Shaffer served as the pubic works director in Lower Providence for 28 years and died on Jan. 26.

“He was a great teacher to his employees, getting down in the trenches and showing his crew how to fix and repair things as needed,” Brown said.

Brown recalled Shaffer taking a group of Lower Providence supervisors to a farm in Collegeville to see a used Unimog that could be used to plow snow out of tight cul-de-sacs because it could turn all four tires at the same time.

“We bought it and the phone calls from all the folks living on cul-de-sacs stopped after the first big snow storm,” Brown said. “What a relief that was for my wife who got most of the phone calls while I was away at work.”

Brown credited Shaffer for continually improving the public works facility over the last three decades.

“Dave made Lower Providence the first municipality in the area to use the new brining technique that takes the edge off the first and most dangerous part of snow and ice storms,” he said. “Residents got to know when they saw white lines down the road it was going to snow and Dave had a great record of predicting when to put the slurry down. Sure enough it would ice up or snow.”

Brown said Shaffer’s last accomplishment was overseeing a $2.5 million project to extend a Ridge Pike water line to 114 homes and businesses. Shaffer arranged for the fill dirt from the project to be used to expand the soccer field at Red Tail Park into a tournament-size field.

“Dave was always looking to solve problems. His soft-spoken nature and non-confrontational demeanor served him well,” Brown said. “Dave was affectionately known by many as the ‘Gentle Giant’ and today we salute him by dedicating this facility as the David H. Shaffer Jr. Public Works Facility.”

Joseph Chillano, the interim director of public works, said it “was a pleasure working with him.”

“He was a great asset to the township,” Chillano said. “He will truly be missed.”

Follow Carl Rotenberg on Twitter @CarlWriter.

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