Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
James Dennis “Shaff” Shaffer
November 30, 1959 ~ January 31, 2021 (age 61)
James Dennis “Shaff” Shaffer, 61, died January 31, 2021 at his home in Shalimar, Florida, with his wife and daughter by his side. Jim was born November 30, 1959, to James Shaffer and Sue Henthorn in Beaver, Pennsylvania.
Jim graduated from Oak Glen High School in 1977 and from the United States Air Force Academy in 1981. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt and his love affair with the military began. Jim’s first duty station was at Hurlburt Field in Navarre, Florida, where he flew Huey helicopters and was part of the Bahamian Drug Task Force, pursuing drug cartels throughout the Caribbean. From there, he flew Huey’s 1983-85, flew 53’s from 1985-94, Osprey V-22 1995 until attending Air war college from 2001-2002. Jim was also part of the Desert Storm 1990-1991, Operation Provide Comfort. He also held many positions of leadership until his retirement at the rank of Colonel in 2007. After retiring from the Air Force, Jim worked civil service as the Senior Technical Advisor at Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center as “Head Scientist” until his retirement in 2018.
When Jim wasn’t working, he enjoyed traveling, golfing, boating and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren, Luke, Kelson, Kambree, Kennedy, Morgan, and Shyanne. While golfing, Jim did make two holes in one (and yes, there are witnesses)! Jim and Jan took a sailing cruise through the Caribbean, and one of their most favorite trips was taking the kids and grandkids to Disney World at Christmas. While Jim fought cancer, he was determined that he would continue to have a life full of love and adventure.
Jim is preceded in death by his stepson Scott Williamson. Jim is survived by his wife, Jan Johnson Clements Shaffer, his parents James Shaffer and Sue Henthorn, daughter Tabitha Nelson (Matt), his stepdaughter Kelley Hoyt (Chris), his stepson Chris Clements, his brothers Scott Shaffer (Sharon) and Jeff Shaffer (Melissa). He is also survived by numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Jan would like to thank Emerald Coast Hospice for their caring staff, they were amazing! Also, a huge thank you Tommy and Stephanie Hull for all of their love and support. Jim and Jan are beyond blessed with an amazing network of friends who have loved and supported them through Shaff’s journey. Thank you to the Pave Low community who sent prayers to Jim.
A celebration of Shaff’s life will be on Thursday, February 4th at Emerald Coast Funeral Home on Racetrack Road, with a visitation at 3:00pm and a service at 4:00pm. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation at P.O. Box 89367, Tampa, FL 33689 or online at https://specialops.org.