David Royko Psy.D

david@davidroyko.com

TERRY SHAFFER - Brief reminiscence upon his death in 2013

Newspaper guy and Dad's first "leggie" (legman, later legperson, an assistant the paper let him have a few years into his column in the 1960s) Terry Shaffer became a great friend of Dad's (before he realized he shouldn't be friends with a leggie while he was their boss) and they were probably really bad for each other -- both serious drinkers, with very similar backgrounds (newspaper men with personal military histories - Terry in Vietnam and Dad in Korea - and neither of them college grads). His wife, Jo, and my mother became very close, commiseration probably the core of their friendship. When the Trib writer called over the weekend to ask about Terry for his obit, I was first surprised to hear he had died (73), but also dismayed to hear he'd had Alzheimer's for 15 years, and even more shocked to learn that Jo (about whom I've often thought, "I wonder what she's up to?") had died of cancer many years ago, too. I liked both of them from the time I was a kid. He was a sweet, friendly and funny guy, and Jo was warm and fun. So, just feeling a few more strands of the past slipping through time. Here's the obit: <http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-terry-shaffer-obit-met-20131121,0,1830449.story> The headline reads: "Terry M. Shaffer, journalist was trusted researcher for Royko, November 21, 2013," which you can paste into google to find if the link stops working.

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A TERRY SHAFFER postscript. On the way home from our regular Cleveland visit, Karen and I stopped by WGN last night and talked on-air with Rick Kogan at 9:00pm about our family's life with autism. We got in early enough to grab a bite at the Billy Goat, which wasn't empty but almost, with single digit patrons on a Sunday night. The thought of the Goat being moved or otherwise disturbed disturbs me plenty and it isn't only because it is a mini museum of local newspapering including tons of dear departed Dad on the walls. It is because the place is where I spent some quality time, as it was not referred to back then, with him -- Saturday or Sunday softball team parties that would start around lunchtime, post morning games, and typically last a good twelve hours. The jukebox was a big attraction for me (I was 12-14 in those pre-Saturday Night Live early 1970s), as were the double cheeses and Sprites with no ice. I got to know many of Dad's people a bit, and liked them. Two who I got to know better than most were Dad's first "leg creature," Terry Shaffer, who just died, and his wife, Jo, gone a while. I had forgotten that Terry has been on the Goat wall of fame for years; you can tell the vintage by the range of white-to-yellowed. He was up there not long after Dad. I do miss them both.

 

 A piece of the wall at Billy Goat Tavern, 8:00 pm, Sunday, November 24, 2013