Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Tribute to My Childhood Best Friend

I received word from my two sisters on Friday, December 23rd, that my best friend in childhood, Stanley Bruce Shaffer, 59 years of age of Cowgill, Missouri, passed from this life into the eternal heavenly one after a long and arduous battle with cancer.  It touched my heart in the deepest place when I heard of his departure from this life. As many of you, I was flooded with both deep grief and joy simultaneously.

Where we went to school together
You see, Stan was by far my “Best Friend” in growing up. In our formative years, we did most everything together though in many aspects, we were very different from one another. But hey, when most of the time you were the only two guys in your grade school class – you had to get along! And get along we did!

My house growing up

It wasn’t only that we were the same age, attended the same grade school, played baseball and basketball together and even at times, liked the same girls; our families were close friends. What joy it brings my heart when I recall the times when the Shaffer clan of Dale and Liz, Judy, Bobby Dale and Stan would converge with the Goll clan of Wayne and Mandie, Sandra Sue, Barbara and Jimmy Wayne (Yes, you heard it – Jimmy Wayne.) Evenings spent at the farm house front porch, home made ice cream and yummy desserts, many a birthday party – and even some good ole belly laughter would erupt from time to time as family friends enjoyed each others company. Life seemed so much simpler then . . .

Differences? I guess! Stan was the eternal optimist. I was the eternal sensitive one. Stan had that infectious laugh. I was seriously serious. Stan was tall and blond. I was skinny and dark headed. Stan was an award-winning athlete. I was an award-winning singer. Stan became a graduate from Polo High School while I graduated from the competitor, Braymer High School, both in 1970. Shaffer’s grew up kind more Baptist and well, the Goll’s, much more Methodist. Stan was more of “a stay at home type” and I had the “itch for international missions”.

Carolyn and Stan on their wedding day
But we shared more in common that we did our differences. We shared country home spun values of love for family, friends and God.  We both had fathers who worked hard to make ends meet and unforgettable mom’s who served and prayed hard. We shared a love for life, a desire to dress and look cool and cruising in his hot Mustang car. We stood side by side in many a church setting singing in the interdenominational group the Seekers. We both married the only women we ever truly loved and were groomsmen in each other’s weddings. Stan married stunning Carolyn and I married the adorable Michal Ann.  For the truth to be known, we both married up!

Yes, later in life our journeys took us in different directions but our hearts were always knitted together. We both knew the peaks and valleys and trails of this earth bound life. Our families both desperately fought cancer and have both suffered irreplaceable loss. But by the great grace of God, we both came out winners! Huh? Winners? How can that be?

Because of the finished work of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! It is by grace through faith that we are saved and not a work of ourselves. Jesus stated concerning his friend Lazarus and now I repeat the words of Jesus concerning my friend Stan Shaffer:
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” John 11: 25, 26

This I know and herein I declare: God is good all the time and His mercies endure forever! Knowing Stan trusted in the Lord, I stand here today to Praise the Lord and declare, “Jesus Saves!

         Stan’s suffering is now over as is my dear Annie’s. I am sure, as a part of the great cloud of witnesses, my Michal Ann is there right now, along Shaffer and Stephens family members as a part of the “Homecoming Crowd” to welcome and greet My Childhood Best Friend. It is my great honor to remember with fondness, tears and joy, the life of Stan Shaffer.

Today, December 27th, 2011, we pause to thank Jesus Christ for this brother, husband, cousin and friend – for a life well lived. Let it be known, for those who know and love Jesus, we are only separated for a short time.

            With Sincerity and Gratitude,

Dr. James W. Goll