Jack Schaefer, 83, an author whose dozens of Western short stories and novels included the classic saga "Shane," died of congestive heart failure Jan. 24 at a hospital in Santa Fe, N.M.
"Shane," which has been translated into 35 languages since it was published in 1949, was honored by the Western Writers of America as the finest Western novel. In 1953, it was made into a memorable Paramount film starring Alan Ladd.
"Shane" is the story of a gunfighter who tried, and failed, to retire. We see his "retirement" through the eyes of a young boy. The boy is puzzled by Shane, who comes into his life as a man looking for menial work on his father's ranch. To the boy, Shane is a mystery, then a friend and hero. When gunmen threaten the lives of the boy's parents, Shane dons his distinctive black garb, buckles up his gun and triumphs against all odds.
Mr. Schaefer had never been west of his native Cleveland when he wrote "Shane." He researched the era by reading old newspapers and diaries at Yale University.
The success of "Shane" enabled him to move to a small ranch near Cerrillos, about 20 miles southwest of Santa Fe, in 1954. Among the Western novels that followed were "Monte Walsh," a story about a boy who grew up to be a cowboy, and "The Canyon," about a Cheyenne Indian's boyhood. Those two books were said to be Schaefer's favorites. In addition to "Shane," seven of his other stories were made into films.
He was a 1975 recipient of the Western Literature Association's Distinguished Achievement Award.
Mr. Schaefer was a 1929 graduate of Oberlin College. In the 1930s, he worked for the old United Press news service, was education director of the Connecticut State Reformatory, and was associate editor, then editor, of the New Haven Journal-Courier in Connecticut. He was an editorial writer with the Baltimore Sun from 1942 to 1944 and associate editor of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot from 1944 to 1948. After that, he worked in advertising and was a freelance writer until devoting himself to fiction.
TODD J. TRAGESER
Todd James Trageser, 12, who died Thursday night when a fire engulfed his Arlington home, was a seventh-grade student at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington.
An Arlington Fire Department spokesman said the fire engulfed the two-story frame house within minutes and was "probably electrical" in nature.
Todd, who had lived here since 1987, was born in Erie, Pa. He attended Key Elementary School in Arlington before entering Jefferson. A former member of the Cub Scouts, he was a member of Boy Scout Troop No. 813 in Arlington at the time of his death.
Survivors include his parents, Thomas J. and Carol E. Bebell Trageser, and a brother, Casey James Trageser, all of Arlington; and his grandparents, Clinton and Rowena Bebell and Helen Jane and William J. Trageser, all of Erie.
WILLIAM A. BURMEISTER
Defense Contractor Representative
William A. Burmeister, 66, head of the Washington office of Nuclear Metals Inc., a defense contractor, died of a heart attack Jan. 19 while playing golf at the East Potomac Golf Course on Hains Point.
He had homes in Arlington and Detroit.
Mr. Burmeister had worked here since 1984 as vice president of marketing for Nuclear Metals, a manufacturer of conventional ammunition for the U.S. military. He had been with the company since 1968 and worked in marketing at the Federal Mogul Bearing Division in Detroit before that.
He was a native of Elgin, Ill., and a graduate of the University of Michigan. He served with the Navy Air Corps as a pilot in the Pacific during World War II.
Mr. Burmeister is survived by his wife, Yvonne Burmeister of Detroit.
MIRIAM E. JOHNSON
Miriam E. Johnson, 89, a retired Pentagon archivist who had traveled extensively overseas, died Dec. 27 at Suburban Hospital. She had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Miss Johnson was a lifelong resident of Washington. She was a government archivist all her working life. She retired in 1955.
She was an accomplished horsewoman, who rode daily until she was 62. She had given movie and slide lectures on her travels on a monthly basis at the Mount Pleasant library.
There are no immediate survivors.