Flora Belle Davis Schaffner
Flora Belle Schaffner (nee Davis) of Highland, IL, age 103 years 7 months and 23 days passed away on Wednesday, January 28, 2009, at the Highland Health Care Center. She was born on June 5, 1905, in Greenville, IL, the daughter of James Daniel Davis, a Civil War veteran, and Calista Ellsworth. Flora was the youngest and last survivor of eight children, Ora Oscar, Ralph Franklin, Mary Etta, Wava, Bertha Burnetta, and two who died in infancy. She leaves behind her two children, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
In her youth she attended Inglis Grade School in Greenville, then Greenville High School from where she graduated. For the next 2 years she attended Greenville College and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, which allowed her to become a teacher. In 1926 she taught children of various ages at Pin Oak, a one-room country School House in Bond County, IL for one year. Her brother Orey drove her there at the beginning of the week and brought her home at the end of the week, while also making fires every day in the school stove.
The following year Flora was delighted to get a job at Inglis School in Greenville and taught 6th grade there for the next 12 years. During the summers, being the adventurous sort, she traveled! In 1929, she went by train to San Francisco, in 1931 to Washington DC, in 1933 to the Wisconsin Dells, and in 1937 she traveled by automobile with 3 other teachers to San Francisco again by way of the Rocky Mountains. She saved enough money to buy her own car in 1933 taking driving lessons from the auto salesman.
She met and married Elder Robert Schaffner of Highland, IL, on June 4, 1938. Flora left teaching then and moved to Highland with Elder establishing a home there on Papin Drive and a raised a family. She had two children, Ruth Ann (Mather) born in 1940, and James A. (Jim) born in 1943. For the next 18 years Flora remained a mom, but occasionally did sub-teaching in Highland. Elder died May 14, 1963. Knowing that she would again have to support herself and finish putting her son through college, she went back to Greenville College to finish her 4-year degree, which was now required to teach school full time. She graduated with her BA in 1963. She continued to teach for the Highland Public School District for 11 more years until finally retiring.
Flora remained independent and active for all of her adult life. She was a lifelong member of the Highland Evangelical UCC. She attended regularly and sang in the Chancel Choir. Flora was also an active member of the PTA, Woman's Guild, Order of Eastern Star Highland Chapter #524 (worthy matron in 1955 and 50 year member), St. Joseph's Hospital Auxiliary (1000 hours of volunteer service), Retired Teachers Association, Evening Women's Guild (Past President), Day Women's Guild (Past President), JOY Singers, Girl Scout Leader, Daughter's of the American Revolution, Silver Creek Chapter, Weinheimer Senior Citizens, Meals on Wheels Driver, and Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
In 1992 Flora relocated her residence to the Highland Home where she lived for the next 16 years. She remained active and drove her car until the age of 97. In her last year of life she sought additional care offered by the Highland Health Care Center until her recent passing.