Robert L. ‘Bob’ Shafter

Robert L. “Bob” Shafter, age 89, of Chatham (and, formerly, New Canaan, Conn.) passed away peacefully on Thursday February 4, 2021. Born on June 9, 1931 in Freeport, Long Island to Ruland and Helen Shafter, Bob graduated from Cranwell Preparatory School in Lenox in 1949 and Georgetown College in 1953 with a degree in History and Government. He also earned his LL.B. from Georgetown Law in 1958, following active-duty military service during the Korean War, as a United States Marine Corps Tank Commander.  He retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Major in 1976. He viewed Jesuits as “God’s Marines” and lived by the Jesuit motto: Pray as if everything depended on God but act as if everything depended on you.
     He taught his children to have faith that God will ensure that “everything will work out.”
Bob led a distinguished legal career, culminating in 30 years of service at Xerox Corporation where he served as the General Counsel of the Xerox Publishing Group. During the Watergate Hearings in 1973, he wrote Sen. Sam Erwin and informed him that he had misused the Xerox trademark in the hearings.  (As any member of the Shafter family can tell you, Xerox is a proper noun, NOT a verb!) In Bob’s eyes, that offense was far worse than anything Nixon could have done. Bob was a Committee Chair of the International Trademark Association and a Trustee of the U.S. Copyright Society. He attended many Olympic games around the world – first representing Xerox and later, as a volunteer (policing the Olympic trademarks).
Bob married Ethel Vivian Ankner on September 30th, 1961 in New York City. They raised four children in New York City, Scarsdale N.Y., Rochester N.Y., and New Canaan, Conn. and their vacation homes at Bromley Mountain, Vt. and in Chatham, where they have lived full-time since 2011.  Bob is survived by his wife, Ethel, his children, Dennis Shafter of Chatham, Mary and Jim Sullivan of Chatham, Andrew and Maryann Shafter of Hingham and Brandy and Paul Chapman of Cohasset and his 10 grandchildren: Shannon, Megan and Kerry Sullivan; Erin, Jack, Kate and Tim Shafter; and Connie, Brandon and Paul Chapman.
Bob was a member of the Monomoy, Stage Harbor and Stamford Yacht Clubs, the Wychmere Beach Club and The Lake Club of New Canaan.  In New Canaan, he was President of the Exchange Club, Lacrosse Association and member of Poinsettia Club.  He also enjoyed his bridge group, the Chatham Men’s Club and was an enthusiastic docent at the Chatham Railroad Museum. He was a lifelong member of the Republican Party and served as the Republican Registrar of Voters in New Canaan for many years.  (He especially enjoyed attending President Reagan’s Inauguration in 1981.)
A viewing will be held on February 10th from 4-6 pm at Nickerson Funeral Home in Chatham. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at 10 am on  February 11th. Capacity is limited. A livestream of the Mass will be available. For more information visit: