A year after his death, Parking Enforcement East members marked Raymond Schaffer’s life with a place outside in the shade.
A bench was dedicated in the former Parking Enforcement Officer’s name, placed outside of the Scarborough office, where his colleagues can remember the 70-year-old man who still loved to coming to work every day.
“We, here at Parking Enforcement, were his family,” said Shift Supervisor Peter Bouhs, at a bench dedication ceremony to honour Schaffer on October 8. “He didn’t want to retire. He was just a funny guy with a dry sense of humour and a heart of gold who would always take the time to talk to you, no matter what rank or unit of the Service you were from.”
Bouhs said there wasn’t a second thought when it came to doing something to remember Schaffer.
“I knew in my heart we had to had to do something to recognize him and that there would always be something in our place of work to remind us of Ray and all the fond memories we have of him,” Bouhs said. “I know Ray loved travelling and enjoyed the outdoors. I thought it would be nice to have a place to sit and relax and this bench will always be seen by everybody as they come and go from work and it will always remind them of Ray.”
Schaffer, who never married and didn’t have children, lived alone and was a Service member for 24 years and eight months.
It’s important that you all know just how much you meant to Ray
Bouhs sensed something was wrong when Raymond Schaffer didn’t show up for work on the afternoon of September 25, 2014. He was always on time and would call in advance if he was going to be late or he was ill.
“I had a gut feeling that all was not right and you get that when you work with someone for quite a while,” said Bouhs, who worked with Schaffer for nearly eight years.
He had passed away in his home due to heart failure.
Retired Superintendent Wes Ryan, who taught Schaffer to scuba dive 30 years ago and encouraged him to join the Service, attended the dedication ceremony with his wife, Janice.
“For you to come together and do this for Raymond is very special,” said Ryan, who retired in 2011 after nearly 42 years with the Service. “Being a Toronto Police Parking Enforcement member meant the world to Raymond. It was the pinnacle of his life. For Raymond, the thought of passing away was heavy on his mind because he was getting up there in age and he had some health issues.”
Ryan said he unsuccessfully tried to convince Schaffer to retire.
“I tried for about five years,” noted Ryan, who was the Parking Enforcement unit commander for six years. “The reason why he did not retire is because he loved you people. He just couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing you on a regular basis. It’s important that you all know just how much you meant to Ray.”
A few years before he passed away, Schaffer told Ryan – who is his estate’s executor – that he wanted to leave a legacy.
“Ray wanted to have a City of Toronto park named after him,” Ryan revealed. “I told him he was not rich or famous enough for that to happen. Having a bench in his name is the next best thing.”
Kari Francis, who joined the Service six years ago, loved working with Schaffer.
“He was a fantastic man with a smile and good story,” she said. “He was well travelled and had many stories to tell.”
Parking Enforcement unit commander Kim Rossi said Schaffer was a great mentor to colleagues.
“He cared about everybody,” she said.
Hazel Shand, who had worked together to memorialize Schaffer, was the first Parking Enforcement Officer to sit on the bench located in the shade at the eastern side of the unit’s building.
Funds for the bench, unveiled by Bouhs and fellow parking enforcement officer Herman Persaud, were raised through generous donations from “D” platoon, the Toronto Police Association and a 50/50 draw.