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This profile was last updated on 4/5/04  and contains information from public web pages.

Mr. William Oscar Schaefer

Wrong William Oscar Schaefer?


Tappan Grammar School

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Library Trustee


  • Buffalo State Teacher's College
Web References
What's in a name, 5 April 2004 [cached]
As principal of the Tappan Grammar School from the Depression until the late 1960s, William O. Schaefer dealt with challenges ranging from feeding hungry children to accommodating a booming student population after World War II.
Through it all, Schaefer impressed his students, faculty and family with his meticulous attention to the needs of his school and community.The South Orangetown Central School District honored him for his dedication by naming a brand new elementary school for him at the end of his 33-year tenure as principal.
The William O. Schaefer Elementary School, opened and dedicated in 1965, can be found on Lester Drive in Tappan.
William Oscar Schaefer was born on May 6, 1905, in Cadosia, a rural community in upstate New York.According to his 1986 obituary, which appeared in this newspaper, Schaefer's commitment to education began early.
He attended a one-year teacher's training program right after high school and, upon graduation, taught in a one-room school in upstate Sullivan County.He eventually attended Buffalo State Teacher's College in 1929.
"The life of a pupil in school is to be made as interesting as possible," Schaefer wrote, "his every ability is to be challenged, he is to be given a chance to use his initiative and assume responsibility for his acts."
"You could feel that he liked you," said Elizabeth Monsees, wife of Ralph Monsees, who was in fifth grade when Schaefer came to the school in 1932.
George Garrecht, who attended Tappan Grammar School from 1959 to 1965, said everyone knew not to cross Mr. Schaefer because that could land you in his office.
Elizabeth Larkin said that because Schaefer and his wife lost two children at birth, the school filled the void.
Schaefer extended the same level of devotion to the larger community of Tappan.He participated in both the Boy and Girl Scouts, coached youth teams, was a library trustee, and served as secretary for the volunteer fire department.
"Bill knew everybody," said Monsees.
With such a firm commitment to his school and the larger community around it, Schaefer had a hard time coping when he retired in 1965.
Schaefer ended up coming out of retirement and returning as principal of Tappan Grammar School in the late 1960s.
While a move to Florida helped him ease into his second retirement, he never forgot his center of gravity.
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