Former accounting professor dies


by Katie AnthonyKelsey Knutson

Steve Shafer, former Simpson accounting professor, died Wednesday night after a long battle with cancer.

Shafer, an associate professor of accounting at Simpson for six years and who had an 18-year teaching career, took full-time disability after the spring semester because of his failing health.

The Simpsonian spoke with Shafer last year about his departure; the words that he left for his students will be remembered.

“There are a hundred stories that I could tell and a thousand pieces of advice that I could give, but in summary I would say ‘Always give a good effort; never give up,'” Shafer said.

Shafer’s colleagues remembered today the impact that he made on his students and on themselves.

“Steve was really the essence of what a Simpson faculty member should be,” said Brian Steffen, professor of communication and media studies. “He was committed to students performing at a very high level in class. He gave them the tools that they needed to do well, and he sincerely cared about them as people. The world needs a lot of Steve Shafers, and unfortunately we lost the best one there was.”

Cindy Hamilton, administrative assistant in McNeill Hall, had known Shafer since he came to Simpson six years ago. She said his wife contacted the business office this morning, Sept. 2, to inform the college of his passing.

“(Steve) was nice to everybody,” Hamilton said. “He loved all of his students. He never gave up and he fought until the very end.”

Visitation will be Friday evening at Hamilton’s Southtown Funeral Home, 5400 SW Ninth St., in Des Moines. Visitation time has not firmly been established, but the family is hoping for 4-7 p.m.  Details are available at the funeral home website at

Funeral services will be Saturday, Sept. 4, at 11 a.m. at St. Augustin Catholic Church, 454 42nd St (42nd and Grand), in Des Moines.

Check back for updates.