About Us

Canyonville Academy Alumni

The Canyonville Christian Academy Alumni Association is an organization made up of the graduates, former students, teachers, and staff of the academy.

Our primary functions are to support the school through projects and prayer.

The association sponsors an annual alumni reunion on campus traditionally held on Memorial Day weekend.  Current alumni projects include catalyst funding for new dorm, a sports record display in the gym and financial aid for students.

The CCAAA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, making all donations tax-deductible.

Founder of Canyonville Christian Academy.

Known as Dad or Daddy Shaffer to generations of students.

Born: April 13, 1884

Died: March 31, 1961

Married to Francis Adele Staples

Children: Helen, Ruth, and Robert

Early Life :

Canyonville Christian Academy - Canyonville Bible Academy, boarding schoolAs a young boy he was ill-treated, orphaned, and received only an elementary school education. As a young man he moved to Colorado, met his wife, and started a family. (A full telling of Dad Shaffer’s early life can be found in the book The Orphan, written by his daughter Helen Shaffer Dunbar. Available from CCA.)

Founding of CCA:

In the summer of 1923, A.M. Shaffer and his family were enroute from Colorado to California when their car broke down in Canyonville. After a few days of awaiting parts, during which Dad Shaffer preached at the local Methodist church and worked in the orchards helping with the fruit harvest, the car miraculously went to gear began to run properly.

These unplanned and unexpected events led to Dad Shaffer making the decision to stay in Canyonville. Within a few months he had built a church on Main Street and started teaching Bible and other courses. This humble beginning evolved within a few years into a boarding high school which is now CCA.

The schools first building, now the girls’ dorm, housed living space for boys, girls, and staff along with classrooms and the dining hall. It was build on faith and the donations of supporters of Dad Shaffer’s ministry.Canyonville Christian Academy, Private Boarding School

Life’s Work:

Dad Shaffer was the president of the school from its founding until his death in 1961 at age 77. He was also pastor of the church located on campus, originally called “Canyonville Gospel Tabernacle” and later “Canyon Chapel”, from 1924 to 1960, retiring just a few months before he died.

For many years Dad Shaffer spoke at the daily chapel service for students.

Canyonville Christian Academy - Canyonville Bible Academy, boarding school

Dad Shaffer was involved on a daily basis with the building construction on campus. This included pouring and troweling of thousands of square feet of cement being prepared one small mixer load at a time. It was more common to see him in his work overalls than a suit.

To graduate from Dad Shaffer’s academy, all students were required to write both a junior and senior year thesis. The senior thesis was to be read in front of the student body during chapel time.

Other Facts and Memories:

– An honorary doctor of theology degree was awarded to A.M. Shaffer in 1960 by Northwest Bible College (Kirkland, Washington), now Northwest University.

– Dad Shaffer read widely, with emphasis in history, biography, and religion but his formal education ended in elementary school.

– He served on the organizing committee of the Northwest District of the Assemblies of God and was an ordained minister of that denomination.

– He never received a salary from the academy he founded. His income came from his work as a pastor.

– He was elected mayor of Canyonville and actively worked to bring electricity to the city.

– Rev. Shaffer loved accordion music, drove a white Ford Ranchero pickup, and had a dog named Taco.

-Students and friends would get to hear his wonderful stories of the first time he saw an automobile or an airplane; tales of great leaders he admired, like Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt; and colorful recountings of the Great Depression and both World Wars.

– He lost his beloved wife to a heart attack while she was doing advanced piano studies at the University of Oregon in 1946. For years, when she was suffering from her ill-health, each morning he brought to her bed fresh-squeezed orange juice.

– From his days in Colorado and up into the 1950’s, he was an avid beekeeper, each year gathering many gallons of wonderful honey.

-While Rev. Shaffer’s sermon texts were mostly from the Old Testament, his underlying themes were often related to issues of character and integrity and transmitting his Christian values on to his congregation and students.

– For many years, when he lived downstairs from the student residence areas, he had a tradition of inviting students for a bedtime snack of graham crackers and milk.

The school’s chapel, “A.M Shaffer Memorial Chapel”, is named in his honor.

– Although there was never any doubt that Dad Shaffer’s desk was “where the buck stopped”, he was always had a collaborative  relationship with his son Robert, the school’s V.P. They would meet almost every business day to go over plans and decisions.

– Dad and Mother Shaffer donated the money from an inheritance to purchase the land for the campus west of Canyon Street. He also gave the school “Dad Shaffer’s Steakhouse”, a small building overlooking Canyon Creek , that is now the teacher’s lounge.

– He was named “Pioneer in the History of Douglas County”.  He is among a very select group whose name appears on a plaque in downtown Roseburg, the county seat.

Never one to mince his words, among his favorite expressions were “lollygagging, gumsucking, and lounge lizzard”.

Assistant to Canyonville Christian Academy founder A.M. Shaffer through 1961

– Leader of the school through 1985 –

– Born: August 10, 1913 –

–  Died: June 20, 1991 –

– Married to : Esther Carrick –

– Children: Roger, Adele –


Leadership Roles:

Canyonville Bible Academy, boarding schools, Christian AcademyFrom the late 1930’s to 1961 Bob Shaffer was Vice President and Business Manager of CCA. During this time he worked closely with A.M. Shaffer in a wide range of duties, including running the school’s business office, promotions, and fund rasing.

From 1961 (after the death of Dad Shaffer) until 1966 Bob Shaffer was the Chief Operating Officer (C.O.O.) of the school.

In 1966, He was elected by the Board of Directors to be the President of CCA, a position he held until his retirement in 1985.

Notable Achievements and Memories:

Bob Shaffer oversaw the building and funding for all but two of CCA’s buildings. He served as the architect/designer for three of the four major buildings on campus.

– He wrote 26 volumes of journals, poetry, proverbs and other writings. A volume of selected proverbs (20th Century Provers) was published in 1965.

– He wrote ten three-act plays. These were performed by students and Bob Shaffer produced and directed the plays

– Multiple writings of Bob Shaffer have appeared in “Readers Digest” and poetry anthologies.

– He was an artist who designed numerous sculptures.

– Bob was the inventor of “Punch-A-Can”, a remarkably effective multi-function screw driver that was commercially produced.

-For ten years he presented a unique weekly Sunday afternoon multi-media program called “Melody Hour”. The program contained elements of what were later called “music videos” and featured a theater quality sound system.

– A licensed Minister, after the passing of Dad Shaffer, he spoke to the student body at many school chapels each year.

– Bob Shaffer believed that tuition should should cover the cost of school operations and that donations should always go towards improvements and buildings. At the time of his retirement in 1985, the school was entirely debt free, and a contingency fund had been built.

– The school’s gymnasium, which he designed, oversaw the construction, and for which he raised funds, is named in his honor.

– Robert Shaffer was a member of the first graduating class of CCA in 1932. At that time the school was known as Canyonville Bible School (CBS).

Along with his office duties, Bob Shaffer was involved in many, many other activities and projects. amongCanyonville Christian Academy, Bible Academy, boarding schools, private schools these were:

* Starting the school’s yearbook

* Manager of the P.X (snack bar)

* Helped found the Alumni Association

* Ran the annual “Box Social” – a major fund raiser

* Co-senior adviser with wife Esther for many years.

At times durning his tenure he was also involved in providing entertainment and activities for the students (movie nights, ‘Uncle Bob Socials”, etc.)

– Bob was a collector of records (nearly 2,000 33 rpm disks) and art by local and regional artists. He also displayed two murals by Robert Bruce Williams, nationally known artist and CCA graduate, in his home.

– He served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

– He was a church worship team/orchestra drummer as a teenager through his 60’s. Although not formally trained, he also enjoyed playing the piano and the school’s Hammond organ.

– Bob Shaffer’s career at CCA spanned 50 years. After his retirement he also served another six years on the Board of Directors.

On the afternoon of his funeral, the businesses of Canyonville were closed in an unprecedented show of respect.

Dad Shaffer was actively involved in the construction of 11 buildings on campus. He also troweled and poured cement sidewalks of the Academy. This was usually done with the help of students and using a small electric cement mixer.