Robert Earl Schaefer

  • Born: March 29, 1932
  • Died: March 25, 2020
  • Location: Seattle, Washington

Smart Cremation

Tribute & Message From The Family

Robert Schaefer died on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020, of complications from coronavirus. He will be mourned by family, friends, and community members whose lives he touched.

Born on March 29th, 1932 in Denver, Colorado, Bob grew up near the foothills of Colorado's Front Range. He moved to New York City for undergraduate studies at Columbia College, then continued on to complete medical school at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. His military residency was in Adana, Turkey, and was followed by a residency in radiology at Stanford.

During his military residency, Bob took a mountain climbing vacation to Switzerland, where he had the good fortune of meeting Doris Marti. Between excursions in the Alps he won her heart and they were married in February of 1962. After completion of his residency in Palo Alto they moved together to Seattle.

Bob's keen insights into techniques of radiology earned him wide respect in the field. In addition to his practice at Harborview Hospital and Overlake Medical Center, his academic contributions gained him faculty posts at the University of Washington Medical School.

Bob's intellectual curiosity was legendary. He was in his element studying fractal patterns and Fibonacci numbers, or searching the night sky with his telescope for nebulas and other astronomical wonders. His fascination with the mathematical structures of the natural world led him, among other things, to craft exquisite models in wood and string of complex geometric volumes.

His passion for abstract math and physics was balanced by his love of art and technical craftsmanship. He was a highly skilled woodworker, and over the years produced a collection of beautifully crafted furniture and lathe-turned bowls, while also serving as president of the Northwest Woodworkers Guild. In recent years he focused his energies on landscape and still life oil painting.

Bob loved the beauty of nature. His outdoor exploits included ascents of numerous peaks in the Cascades, and treks in diverse places like Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Swiss Alps, and Nepal. Closer to home, he enjoyed simply sitting on his balcony in Magnolia with Doris, admiring the view of Puget Sound and the Olympics.

A longtime patron of the arts, Bob lent his support to many Seattle theater groups and museums. He was an artist's aide at the Seattle Opera and generous supporter over the years of that institution.

Bob was a warm hearted, caring and gentle soul who will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved him. He is survived by his wife Doris and his extended family, including the Becks in Seattle and Denver, the Martis and Scholls in Switzerland and the Schaefers and Abrams in Boston and Raleigh.

Condolence & Memory Journal

Bob, Doris and I were Seattle Opera Artist Aides before we became friends in 2006. At our mutual friend Archie Drake's memorial, we read poetry that Archie loved. Bob was smitten with the depth of feeling in the sparse words and said he read poetry or poet's biographies daily ever after.

Bob became an enthusiastic guest at my poetry parties. A treasured memory is of the very reserved Bob Schaefer consumed with laughter as he tried to read his racy selection. Several months ago he left a voicemail laced with tears induced by Robinson Jeffers' sentimental poem The House Dog's Grave.

He delighted in telling the story of Doris's sister and brother-in-law setting him up with Doris long ago. Their lifelong love affair was obvious whenever they were together.

Bob was the eternal student as well as educator. His wide-ranging interests and deep intellect were well represented by his library filled sometimes esoteric topics, not to mention his woodworking and wonderful paintings. He generously took the time to educate and relax me by clarifying medical reasons and considerations as I faced spinal surgery several years ago.

We also shared a birthday March 29 and hoped to celebrate this year. When I spoke with him March 24 he was happy to know I planned another Poetry Party in his honor after he recovered. The party will instead be in his memory when the pandemic is over.

I miss his friendship.

Posted by Peggy Wolff - Se, WA - Friend   April 28, 2020

we remember Bob's many contributions to Seattle Opera and Seattle Opera Guild.

Posted by ann milam - seattle, WA - Friend   April 26, 2020

Such a wonderful man. We are so sorry for your loss, Doris. Joan and Bob

Posted by Joan and Bob Wallace - Bellevue, WA - Friend   April 26, 2020

A trusted friend and colleague who was so talented in his profession as well as in so many avocations. One of my best friends, a joy to spend time and converse with and a humble mentor in all things Radiology and life.

Posted by Robert Butenko - Bellevue, WA - Friend   April 21, 2020

Bob Schaefer, was unique and faithful friend. I miss him.

Posted by Liza STACISHIN - Seattle, WA - Family Friend   April 15, 2020

Family Album

Family Album

Family Album