• Milestones
  • Pemi Alumni
  • Summer 2015

Ethan Schafer, November 21, 1975–August 8, 2015

It is with a profound sense of loss that we pass along news that Ethan Schafer died on Saturday August 8, 2015 following a major cardiac event. Ethan, 39, husband to Kelly and father to Andy (6) and Adam (3), was a Pemi camper, counselor, and dedicated alum.

We will write more about Ethan and the wide-reaching, sustaining effect he had on family, friends, colleagues, and the camp world, but here is a glimpse of Ethan’s relationship with Pemi….

Ethan’s first summer at Camp Pemigewassett was as a ten-year old in 1986. He went on to spend six summers as a fully-engaged Pemi camper, exploring all facets of Pemi’s diverse program. In 1991, Bean Soup honored him with the Camper of the Year Award, shared with Danny Kusik. The following was read aloud to the gathered camp community and published in the bound version of the Soup:

This award is going to two Pemi campers. They have both given this camp so much that it seems hard to think of this place without thinking of them. They are both leaders in their division, and are respected for the friendship they give to those in their cabin and all the many others who are around them. Both love camp and realize that it has been an important part of their lives. They have come to camp year after year, where they have settled on the soccer field, baseball diamond, and tennis court. They have won victories that have inspired themselves and others. They have shared loss and been able to bounce back with enthusiasm and energy. In every way, these two campers represent what a true Pemi camper should be. They are the 1991 Pemi kids. 

Ethan with Tyler Casertano, 1998
Ethan with Tyler Casertano, 1998

In 1993, Ethan transitioned to the Pemi staff and quickly became one of Pemi’s best counselors. He spent the majority of his time with the youngest boys, demonstrating an uncanny patience and rapport with youth. In 1996, Ethan was voted by his peers as the winner of the Joe Campbell Award – which bears this text:

Inscribed heron is the name of the Pemi counselor who most fully embodies those qualities which made Joe Campbell one of the best-loved counselors in Pemi history – integrity, generosity, happiness, enthusiasm, modesty, and an unsurpassed ability to give laughter to all those who knew him – qualities by which he contributed immeasurably to the success of every Pemi season of which he was a part.

As a child psychologist, Ethan continued to support and mentor Pemi counselors by leading pre-season staff training workshops. In August of 2015, Ethan was to assume a seat on Camp Pemigewassett’s board of directors.

Calling hours will be from 5-8 pm on Wednesday, August 12 at Billow Funeral Home, located at 85 North Miller Rd. in Fairlawn, Ohio. Ethan’s funeral service will take place at 10 am on Thursday August 13 at Faith Lutheran Church, 2726 West Market St., also in Fairlawn. It will be followed by a private burial service.

Education was of the highest priority to Ethan. His family asks that, in lieu of flowers or similar gifts, friends, family, and anyone else that knew and loved him consider donating to The Schafer Children’s College Fund that has been set up to support Andy and Adam.


We invite you to share your memories of Ethan—whether in short line or detailed story—in the comments section below. For those of you who subscribe to Pemi’s blog and, as such, receive this in your inbox, please visit this post in order to leave a comment. Thank you.