Sylvia Deaver January 14, 1939 - February 7, 2021
It is not possible to convey Sylvia's essence without speaking of her partnership with Earl. They attended North Texas State University together and studied industrial arts and art. While pursuing their studies, they welcomed their first child. Sylvia and Earl earned their degrees and teaching certifications in Industrial Arts. Their pursuit of learning continued as they welcomed two more children into their lives, pursued their careers as teachers, and completed their Master's degrees in education. They shared a lifelong commitment to art, exploration, inquiry, learning, and family. For Sylvia and Earl, these were not separate interests competing for their time, but essential elements annealed into a unified life overflowing with love and beauty.
Family and friends use many words to describe Sylvia's spirit: caring, loving, vibrant, generous, hopeful, joyous, inspirational, bold, devoted, and above all creative. Sylvia had an individual way of seeing the world. Her son credits her for two important lessons that impacted his career and life. When searching for solutions to a problem, if all the sense in the world doesn't solve the problem, then the only logical course is to apply non-sense. The other lesson is to look at something upside down and backwards to see it newly. Sylvia was never shy about peeking behind curtains or opening unlocked doors to see what was beyond. If someone commented that she was an "out-of-the-box" thinker, she might have replied "what box?"
Sylvia was a pioneer and lived life her way. She became an industrial arts teacher for the Fort Worth public schools in the late 1960s, a time when only men taught shop classes. She never saw herself as a trailblazer. She had nothing to prove, she simply followed a path defined by her love of art, learning, teaching, and creating.
Sylvia had a wry sense of humor. One Christmas while preparing dinner, she told the grand kids that they were going to have "coconut" stew. With a wry grin and twinkling eyes, she watched their puzzled faces because the stew didn't taste like coconut. She then quipped that "Coconut" was the name of the bull. She loved spending time with her kids, grand kids, and great-grand kids often taking them on trips, creating art projects for them, working in her garden, hanging drywall, laying tile, or whatever was on the agenda for the day. All the while teaching them skills and expanding their creativity. Camping trips to Ghost Ranch, New Mexico was a popular family affair for many years.
Sylvia shared her generous spirit with the world. Her holiday cards were often original artworks, and she typically illustrated her notes and letters. She was the living embodiment of the expression that there are no strangers, only friends who haven't met. She was always willing to engage people and get to know them. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville, one of the founding members of the Gainesville Area Visual Arts. She volunteered with local charities CASA, VISTO, Abigail's Arms, Littlest Angels, and DASH. She was a devoted wife, partner, mother, friend, and is dearly missed.
In lieu of flowers, her family request donations to the Gainesville Area Visual Arts scholarship fund to support future artists, visionaries, and bold pioneers. On Sylvia's behalf, we ask that you take a moment to stop, look at the world, find something interesting and ask some questions about it, take a picture, draw a sketch, paint a painting, or grasp some moist earth in your hand and squeeze it, create something, create anything.
Farewell to our friend.
Your art and heart brought light to all who crossed your path.
We know you are happy and painting the clouds that you love so much.
Like a rainbow, gone too soon, but never forgotten.
Mozelle , a longtime member of GAVA. Mozelle, besides being a fine painter, was a positive person, with a great sense of humor and she is greatly missed.
Robert L. Schafer
Robert Littlefield Schafer, “Bob” as we knew him, was a beloved father , friend and artist of note who began his 99-years of life at 40 degrees below zero in Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada on November 22, 1912. Though born in Canada, he was a U. S. citizen and spent the rest of his life in the United States.
When he was 5 years old his mother recognized his artistic talent and nurtured it. He attended the Reinike Academy of Fine Arts in New Orleans. He spent the first part of his career as a commercial artist in Detroit and Dallas. His beloved wife, Jennie, died in 1992 and he retired from commercial art to paint watercolors as his heart desired. He moved to Whitesboro to be close to his daughter, Dawn, and granddaughter, Jennifer.
Throughout his life, he was a devoted church member and friend of the arts. He is survived by his daughter, Dawn and her husband, Larry, grandchildren, Jennifer, Dennis, Richard and Suzette. His son, Robert, Jr. and wife, Marilynne, and grandchildren, Annmarie and Robert.
Bob is survived by over 150 paintings hanging in banks, restaurants, clinics and three art galleries. Bob, a fellow GAVA (Gainesville Area Visual Arts) member had just celebrated his 99th birthday with the group, at it’s November meeting. All there sang Happy Birthday to him, and Bob was singing along with us… saying, “Happy Birthday to Me.” His generosity with his paintings was incredible.
This is a man we all loved. He is sorely missed.