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.


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35 Condolences for Dr. Paul William Schaefer

  • Dad, I found this in your wallet and it seems appropriate to share it with everyone here. We love you forever!

    Go in peace
    Plant, enjoy, expect a bountiful harvest and insects too.

  • Paul,
    Love you always, you will be missed. Glad to have had you as a part of my life the last 40+ years.
    Beth Sawyer Kobus (Walton)

  • Dear Jane and family. So sorry to hear of Paul’s passing. I loved to see his smile when telling of his explorations. He had the kindest, most loving personality. Treasure memories of your visits with us in Tulsa Oklahoma. Much love Cathy.

  • To Jane and family, our deepest sympathy for you loss. May God surround you all with His peace that passes all understanding. Remember the smiles and laughter.
    To you Jane, many hugs and love from the
    Halls, Joanne, Philip, Bert and Laura. Our continued prayers for you all ❤️

  • I am so very sorry for your loss, his was a life truly lived.
    Love, Yvonne Derry

  • Yesterday, we learned of the passing of one of our dearest friends. I am only a moderate Star Wars fan, but a statement from Obi-wan kept running through my head, “I felt there was a great interruption in the Force.”
    Paul taught us so much. He was a great neighbor, and a great friend. Though physical distance separated us in later years, when we gathered again it was always as though nothing had changed.
    I join a long list of those who will greatly miss him. My condolences go to all who had the great fortune to know him.

  • Dear Jane and Gail, please accept most sincere condolences for the loss of Paul from your old WHS friend, Betsy Griffn (now Casarino). I read Paul’s obituary in today’s Wilmington paper, and was so impressed by his intellect, humor, and general interest in everything and everyone around him. I know you both mourn him greatly, and hope that the wonderful memories you have all made together will give you comfort as time goes on. My sympathy to the whole family. Yours, Betsy

  • Dear Jane, Barb, Heidi, Will, and all the Schaefer family,
    We are so sorry to hear of the passing of Paul. We knew him for nearly 40 years and he was always such a great guy. Marcia lost her dad less than a year ago and we always considered him, along with Paul, to be a large part of the “old guard” of Lead Mountain! Paul and all of you will always be connected to us as honorary “Mainers!” Good to hear that his passing was peaceful and we hope that gives you all comfort in this difficult time. Love to all of you,
    Bill and Marcia (and Kari)

  • I always admired Paul for his energy, his intelligence, and his gentle nature. He was a true gentleman and scholar. All of his friends at the New Ark United Church of Christ (and UD and other places) will greatly miss him!

  • Jane, I am so sorry to lose another ’62 classmate, he was an amazing man. My sympathies to you and your family.


  • Dear Jane and family, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May you be comforted by all the good times and wonderful memories you shared

  • I am so sorry for your loss.
    The Lee family in Korea is sad to hear Paul’s passing.

    With much love and sadness,
    Meeyoung (Haiphong Lee’s daughter)

  • Paul was a loving and caring classmate in Rocky Hill Center Junior High and Wethersfield High School. Respectful and kind to all. Great life! Great accomplishments!
    Love to all

  • Lee family will miss you…
    Rest in peace.

  • Paul was one of those wonderful kind hearted men some of us are Blessed to know during our life on earth.
    Hope our paths cross in the next one Paul.

  • I am so honored to have known Paul and get to experience first hand the amazing igloo. Paul and Jane were dearest friends with my parents Wayne and Linda. I will always remember his kindness, ingenuity, and best hugs that truly made you feel cared for. Fly free my friend!

  • A wonderful person. May he Rest In Peace.

  • Jane and family, we are so sorry for your loss. May you all feel God’s loving arms around you and His comfort and peace. Paul was a most wonderful and interesting man. Our prayers are with you.

  • you was one of the best my friend from the bottom of heart and will keep so many beutyfull memorry with you in mind forever.
    We wish you happiness in the God’s kingdom.

  • Dearest Jane,
    So VERY dismayed to hear of the passing of my dear friend and Coast Guard mentor! My memory of Paul showing me how to spit-shine my dress shoes in order to pass inspection will forever be embedded in my mind – just one of the many thoughtful and helpful things that this great man did for others!
    We convey our profound condolences to you and Paul’s entire family and loved ones! R.I.P. eternally, dear friend, in the house of our Lord and savior! God bless!

  • Dear Janie (and Family and Friends),
    I am Sad for you and yours at this time of Paul’s Passing. ….My Deepest Sympathy.
    I know you all are exceptionally Thankful Paul left this life having done a Lot of LIVING and GIVING. Janie you added and shared a lot of your exceptional energy together it over the many years since your meeting , with wonderful travel and even having lived abroad. The Blessings of your long married lives together have many magnificent Memories stored in your heart to be sure. Keeping those ‘Good Times’ alive will take you over these Hard, Sad Times missing Paul. Keep WELL and COURAGEOUS knowing your,UConn classmate here will remember Paul and You personally in Prayers at Sunday Mass at Our Lady of the Mountains, N. Conway, NH July 5, 2020.

    God be with you and yours,
    Marilyn Kaefer D’Aquanni (NH)

  • My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Although I did not know Paul well, I do know the impact he made on his family. May he Rest In Peace . Much love ❤️ Denise

  • Jane so sorry to hear of Paul’s passing. He accomplished so much in his life. What a wonderful inspiration he was in your family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Gloria Gworek

  • Jane,
    So sorry to hear your sad news. Condolences to the whole family. May Paul now rest in peace. B!essings,

  • Jane,
    So sorry for your loss.

  • Dear Jane,
    My deepest condolences to you and your family on the loss of a remarkable person. Our high school class has lost an outstanding and honored classmate.
    Dawn (Stuart)

  • When our time comes, not all of us will hear the words “Well done!” Paul was beyond “one of the good guys,” he was among the “great guys” and one to be forever missed by those who had the privilege of knowing him. Our sincerest condolences to Jane and Paul’s amazing family.
    Jane and Charlie

  • We are sending our condolences and prayers to the Schaefer family. From the time when our lives were shared, it was a privilege knowing you all. I am so sorry for your loss, but Paul is done with his pain. May he rest in peace and we join the many wrapping loving arms around you all. Sincerely, Eva Kindaichi-Lazaar

  • Dear Heidi and Family,

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your loved one, Dr. Paul Schaefer.

    Our Sincere Condolences to the Schaefer Family,

    Patricia and Michael Morgan

  • To Heidi, Will, Barb, and Jane (my Schaefer second family),

    I’m so sorry for your loss and pray that God provides you comfort during this difficult time.

    Papa Schaefer was a humble, kind, gentle man that loved and adored his family above all and also cherished his bugs, birds, and basketball. He accomplished so many things but most importantly, he was a genuinely great man. He cared about all people, and instilled an appreciation of nature and adventure into all those he met. I have fond memories of moth collections, hot air balloon ground crew, and Eagle watching…just to name a few. I’ll miss his big smile, warm eyes, and gentle nature.

    I pray that all of you hold tightly to the amazing family memories. I’m thankful that you have an endless supply of photos (thanks to Mama Schaefer) and countless hours of video archives to keep those memories fresh if they ever begin to fade.

    Love you all,

    Jodi Peterson

  • Dear Jane and Family.
    I received your message from my second son, Peera Pat in LA today (July 15, 2020) that our dear Paul has left us for good and RIP.
    Ratana and I as well as my first son, Pairath Paul, wish to express our sincerest and deepest sympathy and condolences.
    You and Paul have been our dear friends since our days at the University of Hawaii in 1960s, and thereafter in Thailand when you and Paul visited us on some occasions.
    I remembered once when Paul was in Bangkok. He visited me while I was about to undergo a heart bypass operation. He gave me a very good advice on how to prepare myself physically and mentally after the surgery, using his personal experience. I was so grateful.
    May we wish Paul a nice warm rest with all the holy blessings…..
    Ratana, Pairath Paul and Banpot Napompeth, Bangkok, Thailand

  • So enjoyed your beautiful home when my daughter & her partner lived there.

  • Lovely write up and beautiful video. Paul and Jane were close friends when we were all just starting out as young married couples. Their travels always so very interesting. Paul was a man very much to be admired for all his interests and accomplishments.

  • I am very sorry to hear about Paul’s passing. He and his wife visited me in Idabel, Oklahoma, a few years back, and we had lunch together at a local Mexican restaurant. He was trying to find someone who might be interested in his enormous collection of bird ectoparasites on microscopic slides and had discovered my name on the internet. He subsequently left his entire collection with me. I promised him that someday I would try to publish the data if any records were discovered, and some have now been. So, in the future I plan to recognize Paul by dedicating the paper to him. Thanks Paul! May you rest in peace.

  • Fondest memories from Sapporo to Elkton and of points in-between. Here’s to Percy Fellows, to igloos and village kobans, to Mandarin ducks and size 12 boots, Paul Schaefer. Love to Jane. Love to Barbie. Love to Will and Heidi. [Amalie, Ian, Charlotte, Rachel with our own memories of Roger Aseltine]