Schaefer – Dr. John Paul Schaefer
Longtime Summerside, PEI resident and general surgeon Dr. John Paul Schaefer passed away peacefully on Friday, October 2, 2015, surrounded in love by his family. Born in Toronto, ON, he was the son of the late Wilfred John and Mary Olive (Miller) Schaefer. A graduate of Dalhousie Medical School, Dr. Schaefer moved to Summerside, PEI in 1971 where he practiced at the Prince County Hospital for over 40 years. Leaving to mourn with many beautiful memories are his devoted wife Katherine (Sutherland); children Tim (Christy), Heidi (John Hope), Hans (Andrea), Daniel (Maggie) & Rebecca (John Morash); by grandchildren Kaleigh, Samuel, Carter, Jillian, Erin, Allison, Liam and Keara; brother Bill Schaefer; brother-in-law Rev. Dr. David (Irma) Sutherland; sister-in-law Jody Sutherland; several nieces and nephews, along with many friends and colleagues. Predeceased by brother-in-law Will Sutherland and sister-in-law Connie Schaefer.
The professionalism and care shown by all the staff of Prince County Hospital was deeply appreciated and helped ease a very difficult time. The family would like to especially acknowledge the care provided by Dr. Steven O’Neil, Dr. Paul Kelly, Dr. Larry Pan, and the nursing staff at PCH. The dedication to patient care shown exemplified the quality of care Dr. Schaefer always aimed to achieve and for which he was most thankful. He had a tremendous impact on the lives of his family and he will be deeply missed by all.
Resting at the Moase Funeral Home, Summerside, until Wednesday, then to the Summerside Presbyterian Church, where a memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Interment later in the Lower Bedeque Cemetery. Visiting hours Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Summerside Presbyterian Church, Canadian Cancer Society or the Prince County Hospital Foundation would be appreciated.
Dr. John Paul Schaefer (January 10, 1938 – October 2, 2015)
John Paul Schaefer was born at the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Ontario on January 10, 1938. He happily spent his early childhood surrounded by farm land in the village of Elmvale, ON and later the small Niagara town of Dunnville, ON. After high school, he spent a year working as an apprentice plumber, a factory and construction worker and frequently returned to Elmvale to work as a farm labourer. He was forever grateful to the farmer’s wife for demanding that he get off the tractor and pursue further education. After completing one year at Waterloo Lutheran College in 1958, he spent the following year in pre-med studies at Acadia University, before being accepted into Dalhousie Medical School where he graduated in 1964. He spent a year in internal medicine training at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, before eventually choosing his lifelong passion general surgery and moved to Edmonton. A year later, he returned to Halifax where he completed the remainder of his general surgery residency training and earned his Canadian fellowship (FRCS) in 1969.
Passing up job opportunities at academic teaching hospitals, he decided to spend a year practicing in Labrador City, NL, before eventually moving to Summerside, PEI in 1971. He was passionate about his work and for the next 40 years he was a stalwart in practicing a broad spectrum of general surgery at Prince County Hospital until December 2010. He continued to assist in the operating rooms at PCH and more recently at the QEH in Charlottetown until June 2015.
Throughout his career, Dr. Schaefer had taken a particular interest in enhancing education by mentoring medical students and improving the learning opportunities for other members of the health team. He received the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Regional Award in 2003 recognizing his contribution to his community and his dedication to continuing professional development. In 1997, Dr. Schaefer was the recipient of the Thomas Moore Award presented annually to a Prince County Hospital employee or physician. The award recognizes outstanding service, dedication, superior skill and contribution to the workplace. He served as the president of the Medical Society of Prince Edward Island 2009-2010. In 2013, he received an award in recognition of his ongoing dedication and contribution to learning at the Prince County Hospital. Later that year, he was also awarded honorary memberships by both the Canadian Medical Association and the Medical Society of PEI.
Dr. Schaefer had an ongoing interest in the far north kindled by his time spent there in 1963 as a medical student at the Grenfell Mission in St. Anthony in northern Newfoundland and later by a stint in the NWT. Over the past few years, he returned to the north numerous times to work in Iqaluit and Pangnirtung, Nunavut as well as St. Anthony, NL. As part of a contingent of Island health professionals, Dr. Schaefer also traveled to Haiti on two occasions to work in a hospital at the North West Haiti Christian Mission.
Outside of medicine, Dr. Schaefer enjoyed reading, hiking, skiing, listening to music, searching for beautiful rocks along the beach on Georgian Bay, and gardening which allowed him to reminisce of the times he spent on the farm in his earlier years.
Dr. Schaefer met his wife Katherine (nee Sutherland) in 1970, at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax. They married in 1972, and celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary in September. They have five children, and eight grandchildren. Dr. John Paul Schaefer, passed away peacefully on October 2, 2015, surrounded in love by family. He will always be remembered for the passion he had for his work, the dedication he had towards the care of his patients, and most of all for the love he had towards his family.
Special acknowledgement would like to be made to all those involved with his care over his final months. The dedication to patient care shown exemplified the quality of care Dr. Schaefer always aimed to achieve and for which he was thankful.