Dr. Paul William Schaefer
March 10, 1940 - June 26, 2020
Dr. Paul William Schaefer, age 80, of Elkton, MD, died on Friday, June 26, 2020, at home as he had wished.
Paul was born on March 10, 1940, in Hartford, CT, son of the late Reinhold A. and Mabel C. Schaefer. After 32 years of service, Paul retired from his research entomologist position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2006. As a research lepidopterist, he specialized in the Lymantriidae moths’ ecology, behavior, taxonomy, and sex pheromones. He established and directed the USDA’s Asian Parasite Laboratory in Sapporo, Japan for four years, and subsequently worked at the USDA’s Beneficial Insect Research Laboratory in Newark, DE. He received his doctoral degree in entomology and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine, and he completed his master’s in entomology at the University of Hawaii. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and served on the good ship USCGC Matagorda in the Pacific for 2 years, among other postings.
Paul was a lifelong scientist, collecting and categorizing shells, stones, and bird nests in his youth, specializing in the gypsy moth and its natural parasites across his professional career, and collaborating with biochemists to isolate and identify insect pheromones in his ‘retirement’. He discovered three new insect species subsequently named by others for him, and his own research on Lymantria schaeferi in Jiangxi Province, China, was his proudest professional accomplishment.
Paul was an ever-playful father to his three children and four grandchildren who sought to instill in each of them an appreciation for the natural environment and all of its creatures. His international travels included 37 countries in all seven continents, including Antarctica where Mount Schaefer is named in his honor. An avid birder, Mr. Fix-it, sea kayaker, and basketball player, Paul had a weekly commitment to play pick-up basketball with his buddies, including playing in the Senior Olympics in California, and he continued to play well into his seventies. He was a re-cycler and up-cycler before it was the norm, and taught his family how to make an igloo, pour cement, pickle hot peppers, build a deck, use power tools, catch a swarm of bees or a seagull, re-roof a house, build a greenhouse, canoe, sail, and much, much more.
Dr. Schaefer is survived by his wife of 53 years, Ms. Jane R. Schaefer of Elkton, MD; daughter, Dr. Barbara A. Schaefer (Mr. Mark M. Hood) of State College, PA; daughter, Ms. Heidi L. Schaefer (Mr. Manuel Berumen) of Phoenix, AZ; son, Mr. William P. Schaefer (Ms. Lisa Novins) of Washington, DC; four grandchildren, Gavin M. Schaefer-Hood, Kaylee L. Schaefer-Hood, Sydney H. Schaefer, and Hudson F. Schaefer; and sisters, Dr. Gail S. Fu of Naperville, IL, and Ms. Anne C. Schaefer (Mr. Major Cohen) of Seattle, WA.
All services will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Paul’s memory to the National Audubon Society, 225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Attn: Membership Department, 6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403, or New Ark United Church of Christ, 300 East Main Street, Newark, DE 19711.