Charles Wellington Schaeffer Jr.
March 11, 1931 – January 5, 2020
CHARLES WELLINGTON SCHAEFFER, JR., FORMER READING FIRE CHIEF Charles “Swifty” Schaeffer, age 88, passed away on January 5, 2020 in the Reading Hospital, with his loving family by his side. Born in Reading March 11, 1931, he was the son of the late Charles W., Sr and Ella (Trout) Schaeffer. He was the husband of Theresa (Sartori) “Chee-Chee” Schaeffer, who predeceased him in 2003. They were happily married for 50 years. He is survived by his son Charles III husband of Anne (Orlando) of Pennside; daughter Jeannie Knarr (wife of Kerry) Leesport; and predeceased by daughter Theresa Schaeffer in 2014. There are four grandchildren: Erin, KerriLee, Charles IV and Daniel, and two great grandsons Jack and Zayn. Also surviving are two sisters, Anna Smith, Robeson Township and Louise Moore, Exeter Township, and numerous nieces and nephews. Charles was predeceased by his sister, Betty Boettlin.
Always a patriot, Swifty joined the United States Army at the young age of 17, often reminiscing of his service time and laughing how they were the best four years of his life. He was stationed in Alaska and then transferred to Korea during the war, where he spent the last 13 months of his enlistment. Upon returning home, he worked as a bricklayer for the Reading School District, and joined the Reading Hose Fire Company #1 as a volunteer. That was the start of his proud career in the Reading Fire Department. Soon after, he was hired by the Reading Hose as an “extra driver” and paid $2 an hour for his services. He was subsequently assigned as the first bucket-operator of the Department’s first and only International/Pitman Snorkel, the apparatus he was always most proud of operating. He was promoted five times, beginning in July 1971 when he was elected by Firemen’s Union as an Assistant Chief (Car 6), 2nd Deputy Chief in 1972 (Car 5) and 1975 (Car 4),1st Deputy Chief in 1978 (Car 3), and Chief of the Department “Car 1” in 1983, retiring May 3, 1993. Although he was a career firefighter, his dedication to the volunteer firefighters never wavered. Along with 5 other volunteers, he was instrumental in organizing the Annual Volunteer Firemen’s Awards Banquet, paying tribute to all volunteer firefighters. Those celebrations were some of the best parties in town! He served as Chairman for 34 years. He was also a huge supporter of the RFD Volunteer Scuba Team stationed at the Liberty Fire Company #5, and worked hard to procure the LARC, an amphibious vehicle, from the United States government. That LARC was and always will be affectionately referred to as “Charcoal Charlie”. He served on the Executive Board for the 100th Annual PA State Firemen’s Association Convention in 1979, and, as Chief of the Department, welcomed all firemen and friends to Reading to the 106th Convention in 1985. After his retirement, he took up the game of golf and played often with a select group of firemen and friends. He often joked he was a lousy golfer, but had a hole-in-one at Pleasant Hills Golf Course, witnessed by his Grandson Charlie. It doesn’t get any better than that! He enjoyed cruises and summer vacations at his son’s beach house with his entire family and loved going to the casinos. Swifty will always be remembered for his kind heart, quick smile and unwavering friendship to all who knew him. He will be sadly missed. Services will be Monday January 13, 2020 at 11am in Theo C Auman Funeral Home, 247 Penn St., Reading. Burial to follow in Forest Hills Memorial Park. Viewings will be Sunday January 12, 2020 6-9 pm and Monday 10-11am in the funeral home. Theo C Auman Funeral Home is honored to serve the family. www.theocauman.com
- Theresa (Sartori) Schaeffer, Wife
- Charles W Schaeffer Sr, Father (deceased)
- Ella (Trout) Schaeffer, Mother
- Charles W Schaeffer III, Son
- Anne Schaeffer, Daughter-in-law
- Jeannie Knarr, Daughter
- Kerry Knarr, Son-in-law
- Theresa LSchaeffer, Daughter
- Erin, Grandchild
- KerriLee, Grandchild
- Charles IV, Grandchild
- Daniel, Grandchild
- Jack, Great Grandchild
- Zayn, Great Grandchild
- Anna Smith, Sister
- Louise Moore, Sister
- Betty Boettlin, Sister (deceased)
- Numerous nieces and nephews.
- Visitation Sunday, January 12, 2020
- Visitation Monday, January 13, 2020
- Funeral Service Monday, January 13, 2020
Charles Wellington Schaeffer Jr.
January 16, 2020
Swifty was such a great person his love for all is what I will remember especially for his family!! Love to all!! The Karr’s ❤️
Dawn Miller Wert
January 12, 2020
Swifty, I had the pleasure of working with you at Rite Aid, and it was a pleasure! You gave me so many memories to cherish! Relax In Paradise dear friend! I am sorry I will not be able to personally pay my respects at your service, but Schaeffer Family please know you are in my thoughts and prayers!