On Thursday, August 31, 2023, Helen Agnes Ong Shaffer passed quietly, surrounded by family. 95 years earlier, on January 2, 1928, Helen was the first baby of the year to be welcomed in Canon City, Colorado, to parents Lena and Reuben Ong. She resided in several states with her parents and four older siblings, before settling in Idaho when she was 12 years old. Helen spent her teenage years in Canyon County, where she eventually met Martin Shaffer of Middleton, Idaho.
Martin and Helen were married on July 31, 1948, and would remain married for over 50 years, until Martin’s passing in 1998. They spent their life together in Caldwell, Idaho, where they raised their five children and eventually doted on their many grandchildren as well.
Helen worked at Caldwell Memorial Hospital, where she built long-lasting friendships and connections until 1988, when she retired. After her retirement, Helen continued her involvement in the community by volunteering at the Caldwell Senior Center. After Martin’s passing, Helen met a special companion through her involvement at the Center. Kenny Averill would become part of Helen’s family until his passing in 2017.
When she was not at the Senior Center, Helen was enjoying life with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She enjoyed outings with her daughters, visiting her out-of-state family, and Saturday morning coffee with three generations of family and friends. On Sundays, Helen could be found at Canyon Hill Church of the Nazarene, where she was a devoted member.
To know Helen, was to be treated like an old friend. Everyone was welcome in her home and in her life. Helen greeted people with a hug, a meal, and a blanket if she was worried about their feet getting cold.
Helen was preceded in death by her parents; her siblings Harold, John, Ruby and Margaret; her husband, Martin; her son-in-law, Jack Clark; her son Kendall Shaffer; and her grandson, Brent Shaffer. She is survived by her daughter Linda Clark; her daughter-in-law, Martie Tucker; her son Kevin (Judie) Shaffer; her daughter, Susan (Dave) Lincoln; her daughter Kelli (Brock) McDonald; and her grandchildren, Rick (Jenny Nye) Clark, Tony Clark, Jeff Clark, Haylie (Craig) Taylor, Cortnie (Mike) McHugh, Kristopher Shaffer, Michael Shaffer, Chelsea (Van) Beechler Lincoln, Justine (Gregory) Mai, Jennifer (Thomas) Sparks, Brock McDonald; and 15 great-grandchildren.
Helen spent the last days of her life resting in the home of her son, Kevin, and his wife Judie, and in the presence of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The family would like to thank the care team at Horizon Home Health and Hospice for all their attention and support during Helen’s final days.
Services for Helen will be held at Flahiff Funeral Chapel in Caldwell, Friday, September 8th, at 10:00 am with a grave side service at Canyon Hill Cemetery immediately following. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Caldwell Meals on Wheels (caldwellmealsonwheels.com) or the Caldwell Senior Center, which brought Helen joy and fellowship in her retirement years.