Monday, September 20, 2010

Ronald P. Schafer, R.I.P.

Just in from USLA President Chris Brewster and LACo Lifeguard Captain Jay Butki:

We regret to inform you of the recent passing of Huntington State Beach Lifeguard, Ronald P. Schafer, age 53.

There will be a Memorial Paddle Out for Ron Schafer at the Newland Buoy, in Huntington Beach (off Newland Street & PCH) on Saturday, September 25th at 9 AM.

Per The Los Angeles Times:

"Ronald Schafer dies at 53; California state parks superintendent in Los Angeles
By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times

September 19, 2010

Ronald P. Schafer, who as superintendent of the California state parks' Angeles District pushed to develop urban parks in the core of Los Angeles, has died. He was 53.

Schafer had finished competing in a Malibu triathlon Sept. 12 and was eating with friends when he had a stroke. He died Wednesday at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, said his brother, Randy.

In a statement, Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks, said Schafer did everything in life with "tremendous passion" and left behind "a legacy of park protection."

Since 2002, he had overseen the Angeles District, which encompasses 18 park units in the Los Angeles area.

In that role, and throughout his career, Schafer had emphasized building partnerships that helped establish new state parks in urban areas. The new parks included two downtown – Rio de Los Angeles State Park along the Los Angeles River and Los Angeles State Historic Park north of Chinatown.

He also is credited with strengthening the state parks' relationship with the National Park Service in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and the Santa Monica Conservancy. Schaefer had chaired the conservancy's board since 2008.

Joseph T. Edmiston, executive director of the conservancy, called Schafer "a rock of integrity" whose "indomitable spirit and absolute commitment to public parkland made him a standout as a colleague and friend."

Ronald Paul Schafer was born Aug. 30, 1957, in Akron, Ohio, and grew up in Newport Beach and Los Gatos, Calif.

He was a mischievous child who learned to swim in two hours when he was about 4, recalled his mother, Pat Farrell.

At the University of Texas at Austin, Schaefer swam competitively and completed his bachelor's degree in biology at San Jose State.

He joined the state park system as a seasonal lifeguard when he was 18 and returned in 1984 as a permanent peace officer and lifeguard at Huntington and Bolsa Chica state beaches.

As he rose through the ranks, Schafer oversaw the state park lifeguard program, served as superintendent of Chino Hills and Lake Perris operations in Riverside County and was district superintendent in the Bay Area.

Fellow state park employees considered Schafer a mentor, "a team builder" and "inspiration to many," said Tony Perez, deputy director for park operations.

Schafer, who was divorced, had been living in the ranger residence at Malibu Creek State Park and recently had moved to Costa Mesa.

In addition to his mother and brother, Schafer is survived by twin sons, Jason and Thomas; a daughter, Sarah; a half sister, Jennifer DeAnda; and two stepbrothers, Timothy and Sean Farrell."

Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times


According to Huntington Beach Lifeguard, Mike Beurlein (email: ), and as stated above, there will be a Memorial Paddle Out for Ron Schafer at the Newland Buoy, at Huntington State Beach (off Newland Street & PCH) on Saturday, September 25th at 9 AM.

FYI/Note: Per Jay Butki, with respect to the Newland Buoy:
"Every California State lifeguard since the early 70's swam it in rookie school."

Jay Butki also had this to say about Ron:

"Ron was my first Lifeguard supervisor in Santa Cruz back in the 80's, was a Permanent Lifeguard in Huntington in the late 80's, ran the Malibu Coast District up until his untimely death last Tuesday - due to a stroke at the Zuma Nautica Triathlon.

Ron helped organize the 2006 & 2010 USLA Nationals at Huntington and was very active in the CSLSA & USLA."


And we would be remiss if we did not mention retired LACo and Calif. State Beach Lifeguard, Mark Spyder Thompson's email to us earlier on Sept. 17, 2010 which we didn't piece together with Jay and Chris' emails until today. So here is what Mark had to say about his friend and colleague, Ron:

From: mark spyder thompson, ph.d.
Subject: another lifeguard visits the future
Date: September 17, 2010 9:11:20 AM PDT
To: Will Maguire

Received yesterday from Bron Taylor:

RIP Ron Shaeffer: State Park Lifeguard/Peace Officer, dad, funhog, world record holding masters swimmer, triathlete, friend. Went through state park training and worked as rookies together at Huntington Beach. Wild guy for wild times. He was planning to retire in Florida, soon, and travel the world. A stroke took him out at only 53. Sad day. Today's surf in Igor's energies is for you buddy.

"When I went to work for the State, Ron was one of the first guys I met. Actually I had met him at a triathlon a year earlier, but didn't realize he was a State Park Lifeguard at the time. As Bron pointed out, he was my kind of guy: wild, free, fun loving, .... he was one of the original California Challenge racers.."

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Finally, "County Recurrent News" extends its condolences, thoughts and prayers to the family and friends and colleagues of Ron.

Thanks again to Mark, Chris and Jay for their contributions and keeping the communication lines open.

Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop"..... whether he/she likes it or NOT ! ***

DISCLAIMER: County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

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spyder said...

He worked at Huntington for most of his early career, and then later at Santa Cruz before coming to Malibu and LA. When i went to work for the state, some of the hierarchy thought it would be 'funny' to make me go to the state rookie school, since i was only a 'county' lifeguard. Ron was working it that year (i think this was 81 or 82), and he ended up pushing me to compete in everything. I came out in the top five in the class that year (i was in my best Ironman shape at the time), a 34 years old besting a bunch of teens. It was due to racing against Ron each and every day.

rogerrodd said...

Ron Schafer was my friend of 30 years and my cop partner for 3 of them when we were fresh out of the academy. I would've taken a bullet for him and he would've for me. I will always love and miss him for the rest of my life. We have all suffered a loss that cannot be measured.