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William F. Schaffnit, Sr.

April 18, 1925 February 7, 2011
William F. Schaffnit, Sr.
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Obituary for William F. Schaffnit, Sr.

PEORIA-William F. Schaffnit, Sr., 85 of Dahinda, IL and formerly of Peoria, passed away at 9:10 p.m. on Monday, February 7, 2011 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center; he went home to his Lord and Savior. “Bill” was born in New Haven, Connecticut on April 18, 1925 to Charles and Mary Brennan Schaffnit. He was preceded in death by his father, mother, brother and three wives—Kathryn Schaffnit-Mergener, Mary Schmidt-Schaffnit and Alice Hart-Schaffnit. Bill was the beloved father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend and is survived by four sons, Bill Jr. (Kathleen) Schaffnit of Oakbrook Terrace, IL, Ken (Kathryn) Schaffnit and Mike (Sue) Schaffnit both of Peoria, and Doug (Cristi) Schaffnit of Morton; four step sons, Gary (Trina) Schmidt of Peoria, Bruce (Nadine) Hart of Phoenix, AZ, Brian (Lora Hall) Hart of Lake Forest, IL, and Ben (Katie) Hart of Bloomington, IL; twenty one grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. In 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy to serve his country during World War II. Upon returning from his overseas tour, he attended the University of Kentucky where he played football for the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant. He played in the Orange Bowl (1950) and Sugar Bowl (1951). His 1951 team was recently recognized as the National Champions for defeating previously #1 ranked Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl. Previously, the national championship was awarded prior to the bowl games. He received his Masters degree, in Education, from the University of Kentucky. Upon graduation, he taught and also coached football at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky for three years. In his final two years, his teams went undefeated and won state championships. He then retired from coaching and began his career in the automobile industry. In 1955, he moved his family to Peoria, Illinois and became the General Manager of Pere Marquette Motors, a Lincoln-Mercury dealership. In 1966, he was awarded the first Chrysler-Plymouth franchise in Peoria. He owned and operated Parkway Chrysler-Plymouth until retiring in 1991. His son continued running the dealership until 2001. Upon retirement, he moved to Oak Run in Dahinda, Illinois. His lake home served as a central meeting point for his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends to come together to enjoy his company. He was an avid outdoorsman, who passed on a legacy of his love of hunting and fishing to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He formerly served as the past President of the Peoria New Car Dealers Association and was also a past member of Mt. Hawley Country Club and the IVY Club. He was of the Catholic Faith. Cremation rites will be accorded. Visitation will be held at Wright & Salmon Mortuary on Monday, February 14, 2011 from 5-7 p.m. A Memorial Mass will be held Tuesday, February 15, 2011, at 11:00 a.m., at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Peoria Heights with Monsignor Watson officiating. Visitation will be also held at 10:30 a.m. immediately preceding the Mass. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Tributes and condolences may be submitted to www.wrightandsalmon.com.

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