Hermann Josef Schafer, 82, of Burlington, died at 4:16 p.m. Friday, September 11, 2020 as the result of an auto accident. Well known throughout the community, he was affectionately known as “Hermann the German.”
Hermann was born January 6, 1938 in Kinderbeuren, Germany. In June 1962, armed with nothing more than a suitcase and a few dollars, he followed the love of his life, Margit, to the United States. Six weeks later, they married. He didn’t know a word of English so at the appropriate time, she told him to say, “I do.” He always joked that the marriage might not be legal because he didn’t know what he was saying.
As a young adult in Germany, he worked for the railroad. After arriving in the States, he learned the construction trade and worked for the City of Burlington as the City carpenter for 30+ years, retiring in 2000. Evidence of Hermann can be found all over town including sidewalks, the parks, the auditorium floor, benches, and much more. He was the go-to guy to build or repair most anything and every department wanted him. The City even brought him back several years after retirement to lay bricks on Snake Alley and repair the stone wall at Horseshoe Bend.
A creative and talented man, he enjoyed making custom furniture including benches, wooden outdoor chairs, dressers, bookshelves, etc. He also got a lot of satisfaction out of making and giving away wine and jam.
Hermann was a good and giving father and Opa. He was quick to offer help to his family and he attended sporting events and concerts of his grandchildren. He loved people, loved a good party or gathering and always had a story to tell. Herman had an opinion about most everything and was certain that everyone wanted to know his opinion. He was admired and cherished by many.
Survivors include one son Norman (Janet) Schafer of Burlington, three grandsons, Isaac, Henry and Calvin; two granddaughters, Ashley and Reyna, and a great granddaughter, Izabella.
He was preceded in death by his wife Margit, his parents, six siblings and one son, Armin.
If he were here today, in his thick German accent and with his big, hearty laugh, he would likely say, “I can’t believe it. I never thought I would go.” Hermann was a realist and would be the first to say that he had a wonderful, blessed life. He died a happy man---on his way to eat.
Per his wishes, cremation has been entrusted to the Prugh-Thielen Crematory.
Visitation for Mr. Schafer will be Friday, October 2, 2020 at the Prugh-Thielen Funeral Home from 12 noon to 7:00 pm with the family receiving friends from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
The funeral service will be Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at Prugh-Thielen Funeral Home. Interment will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery. Following the graveside service, family and friend are invited to celebrate Hermann’s life at the Eagles Club, 2727 Mt. Pleasant Street, Burlington, IA.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established.
To send flowers to Hermann's family, please visit our floral store.