MARIAN WESTER SHAFER, age 83, died on April 1, 2004, in Lakeway, TX. Some people described Marian as a pricklypear - tough as nails on the outside, but all soft and sweet on the inside. Born in Seymour, Missouri, and reared in nearby Fordland, MO, she was blessed with keen intelligence, a love of reading and persistent intellectual curiosity. While in high school, she kept house on her parents' Grade A Dairy Farm just outside town along with reading and participating on the debate team. She was Valedictorian of her high school class. WWII interrupted her study of Home Economics at Southwest Missouri State University (which was then known as State Normal School), and in 1945 while a civilian working with the military at Scott Field in Belleville, Illinois, she married Marshall W. Shafer. Marshall was honorably discharged from the Army Air Corps and their first child was born in Clovis, New Mexico, where Marshall was teaching. The couple decided to further Marshall's education, so they moved to the St. Louis area where he attended Washington University. Upon his graduation, they moved to the Baltimore, Maryland area and stayed for more than 35 years. Marian bore two more children, and the family flourished. Marshall taught Marian a love of travel and picture taking, and she raised the children, led Scouts, sold Savings Bonds at school and tended her yard and gardens, growing some of the most beautiful azaleas in the area. She returned to working outside the home in the late 1960's, taking employment with the State of Maryland where she remained for nearly 17 years. Losing their youngest child and only son in 1970 shook their life to its foundations, but Marian threw herself into work at night school, obtaining first an Associate degree in Accounting and later a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Upper Iowa University, where she again graduated with Highest Honors. Upon the couple's retirement, they returned to Marion's love, the desert, finding the perfect home in Casa Grande, Arizona. While there, they continued their international travels, but also found time to tour familiar places like the Grand Canyon, San Francisco and Branson, MO, and she devoted time to her beloved orange trees and cactus gardens. When ill health finally overtook them both, they moved to Central Texas to be near their elder daughter. Marian never stopped being a gardener extraordinaire, an avid bird-watcher and reader. Marian was a 25 year member of the Order of the Eastern Star, a proud member of AAUW (the American Association of University Women) and the National Audubon Society, and a supporter of numerous animal and children charities as well as the Nature Conservancy, the National Wildlife Federation and the World Wildlife Fund. Preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Marshall W. Shafer, her parents and parents-in-law, and her son, Marshall Howard "Jackie" Shafer. Survived by her daughter, Janice E. Doerner and son-in-law, John A. Sloop, III, of Dripping Springs, TX; her daughter, Joyce E. Gummel and grandson, Joseph Marshall "Joey" Gummel, of Orlando, Florida; her brother, James O. Wester (and wife, Lou) of Fordland, Missouri; her sister-in-law, Mary K. (Shafer) Henry of Bulger, Pennsylvania; her brother-in-law, James A. Shafer (and wife, Shirley) of Damascus, Virginia; beloved nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, cousins, and her faithful canine companion, Jose. Graveside services will be held Thursday, April 8, 2004, 11 A.M. at Springfield National Cemetery, Springfield, MO, under the direction of Preston-Marsh Funeral Home, Rogersville, MO. The family suggests that contributions be made in her memory to The Nature Conservancy, or to the Casa Grande Public Library, Casa Grande, Arizona, 85222.