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Philip B. Schaeffer, 94, former editor and assistant to Temple U presidents

Philip B. Schaeffer was an adventurous sort. As a teenager, he enlivened two summers by hopping freight trains from Pennsylvania to Yosemite National Park.

Philip B. Schaeffer
Philip B. SchaefferRead more

Philip B. Schaeffer was an adventurous sort.

As a teenager, he enlivened two summers by hopping freight trains from Pennsylvania to Yosemite National Park.

"One of those sojourns," daughter Nevin said in a Wednesday interview, "yielded a close encounter with a bear that he escaped by jumping on the running board of a passing car."

Good experience, perhaps, to ride herd later over a newsroom.

On Thursday, March 15, Mr. Schaeffer, 94 city editor of The Inquirer from the early to late 1960s and then assistant to three presidents of Temple University from 1969 to 1989, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease at Courtside Cottages, a facility in Vacaville, Calif., that defines itself as a memory support community.

Born in Lancaster, Mr. Schaeffer graduated from Lancaster Boys High School and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism at Franklin and Marshall College in 1938, where, during his undergraduate years, his father, J. Nevin Schaeffer, was a classics professor.

Interrupting his early career as a reporter at the Evening Bulletin, Mr. Schaeffer enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942 and became a radio technician, involved in 1944 operations on Okinawa and in China.

Mr. Schaeffer met his first wife, Patricia Clark of Casper, Wyo., while both were traveling to Marine Corps posts in California, where she would work as a Marine airplane mechanic during World War II. After they married in 1946, the couple came to Philadelphia and he resumed reporting for the Bulletin.

Living in West Mount Airy at a time when community leaders there worked successfully to keep it an integrated neighborhood, he became a deacon at Summit Presbyterian Church there, serving as a Sunday school teacher.

In the early 1960s, he joined The Inquirer under the ownership of Walter H. Annenberg and became its city editor. His daughter said he was credited with setting up the paper's first beats covering medicine, poverty, science, and transportation.

Mr. Schaeffer joined the communications staff at Temple in early 1969. His daughter said that until he retired in 1989, he was assistant to the president during the Temple terms of presidents Paul Anderson, Marvin Wachman, and Peter Liacouras.

After divorcing his first wife, Mr. Schaeffer in 1974 married Emilie Mulholland, a Temple staffer who would go on to become director of the Temple News Bureau and associate vice president for university relations.

"He wasn't happy about leaving his paper," his daughter said, but "he just came to love Temple.

"He had been dedicated as a newspaperman, but enjoyed the range of things he got to do at Temple and the range of people that he met."

When Temple officials visited China, he went back "to places he'd been stationed during the war and took photographs of the same places that he photographed in the past. He was thrilled that he had that opportunity."

Mr. Schaeffer was also "an early convert to the jogging phenomenon, which ultimately led to multiple marathons," which continued into his 60s, his daughter said.

After Ms. Mulholland died in 1990, Mr. Schaeffer met Cara Parker on a 1993 trip to Israel and, after they married in 1994, they moved to California — a town in St. Marys County, Md. — and eventually to California, the state, itself.

Mr. Schaeffer was a former president of the Philadelphia chapter of what is now the Society of Professional Journalists.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Schaeffer is survived by sons Michael and Timothy, two sisters, and five grandchildren. In addition to Emilie Mulholland he was predeceased by Parker and Clark.

A memorial is planned for an undetermined date and place.

Contact Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or