Ernest John Schaefer peacefully passed away in his home in Tehachapi on July 28, 2017, at the age of 94.
He was born in Denver, Colo., on March 5, 1923, to Elsa Christman and Arthur Schaefer. He was the third of three children, following siblings Art Jr. and Shirley. The family moved from Denver to Tucson, Ariz., providing a better opportunity for ranching and running steers. Ernie was a hard worker, even as a young man; he raised rabbits and pigeons, which he dressed and sold to the neighborhood as a popular food commodity in those days.
He graduated from Tucson High School as a football star in 1941 and continued playing football at the University of Arizona. He joined the U.S. Army during World War II in 1943. Upon returning home from the Army, Ernie continued working with his father on the family ranch and returned to the University of Arizona, where he met and later married Leah Faber in 1947.
While in Arizona, they started their family with two children, Susan and Art. They moved to a family farm in Missouri in 1953, where Ernie started his lifelong career raising Charolais cattle. The family moved to California, and in 1969, Ernie and his son, Arthur, began showing their top Charolais. He was a well-known cattleman winning numerous awards all across California and Oregon. He served as director of the American International Charolais Association in 1970. Schaefer Cattle moved to the Keene ranch in 1976 and continued selling top breeding bulls. Ernie retired in 2002, but stayed busy doing deliveries for his son and grandson until the ripe old age of 91.
Ernie and Leah spent a great deal of time preparing and delivering food to raise money for the Tehachapi Community Counseling Service. They were members of the Lions Club and enjoyed participating in the various activities. As time would permit, they traveled the world extensively.
Surviving Ernie are his daughters, Shirley Baker (Gene) and Susan Schaefer (Fred); and son, Arthur; grandsons, Matt, Jeff, and Scott; and four great-grandchildren. Preceding him in death were his wife, Leah; brother, Arthur Schaefer Jr.; and his sister, Shirley Black.
Ernie had a great sense of humor and enjoyed making people smile. Those who had the pleasure of knowing him will dearly miss him.
Arrangements were made with the assistance of Wood Family Funeral Service. For condolences, please visit woodmortuary.net.