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Nancy Schaefer R.I.P.
March 27, 2010 permalink
Former Georgia state senator Nancy Schaefer is dead.
Murder-suicide possible cause of deaths of former state Sen. Schaefer and husband
Conservative political activist and former state Sen. Nancy Schaefer and her husband Bruce have died of an apparent murder-suicide.
Few details were available Saturday, the day after the couple's bodies were found. It could be weeks before autopsy results are available, Habersham county Coroner Kasey McEntire told the AJC Saturday.
"There will be a thorough investigation to determine what happened," GBI spokesman John Bankhead told the AJC. He could not say who might have been the shooter. Six GBI agents and two crime scene technicians are at the scene of the Schaefer home in Habersham County.
An announcement was made around 7:30 p.m. Friday on the floor of the Georgia General Assembly.
Sen. Don Thomas, a physician and who said he knew the couple well, said he believed Bruce Schaefer, 74, had cancer.
“In those moments, you are not at your complete sanity," said Thomas, of Dalton. "Some people figure the best way is to end it for both of you. They were married for so long. Loved each other so much. When you see somebody that you love so much, every now and then, you think the best way out of it is to go and be with the Lord. ”
Schaefer, a former Atlanta mayoral candidate and two-term senator, was beaten by Habersham County Commission Chairman Jim Butterworth in a north Georgia Republican runoff in 2008.
“Nancy Schaefer was a great lady, and she served Georgia and her constituents with honor and grace,” said Rep. Rick Austin who made the announcement from the house floor of the couple's death before the chamber observed a moment of silence. Austin, represents Habersham and White counties, near Schaefer's home.
Schaefer and her husband were the parents of five children and moved to Habersham County in North Georgia after living in Atlanta for 35 years. The daughter of a North Georgia Superior Court Judge and granddaughter of a state legislator, Schaefer, 73, entered the public eye in 1985 when she organized a Constitutional Liberties Rally in Atlanta.
The following year, she founded Schaefer Family Concerns, Inc., a nonprofit foundation dedicated to issues such as display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings and opposition to abortion.
She was the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor in 1994. In 1998, she sought the GOP nomination for governor.
According to her state senate biography, she was an eight year Trustee of the National Ethics and Religions Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). She represented Family Concerns and the SBC at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, the U.N. Conference on Human Settlements in Istanbul, the U.N. Conference on Food in Rome, Italy and the U.N. follow up Conference to Beijing in New York.
She is a former First Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, a frequent speaker to churches of all denominations, a speaker to civic and political organizations, and a frequent guest on radio and local and national television programs across the nation. She was also a Sunday School Teacher.
Nancy Schaefer was chosen as a Gracious Lady of Georgia, served on numerous advisory boards and directorships and in 2001 became the first woman Trustee for Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa, Georgia.
As a state senator, Schaefer represented the 50th district, including Banks, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Rabun, Stephens, and Towns Counties, as well as part of White County.
- Staff writers Ernie Suggs, Nancy Badertscher and Alexis Stevens contributed to this report
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Addendum: An autopsy ends the notion that husband Bruce suffered from cancer. An article below from the Gainesville Times blames finances for the murder/suicide and alleges that Bruce was the shooter, killing Nancy as she slept. Following that is an epitaph by Daniel Weaver.
Schaefer's husband was shooter, law authorities say
Finances believed to be linked to shooting death of former state senator and her spouse
Troubled by financial problems, the husband of former state Sen. Nancy Schaefer shot his wife to death as she lay sleeping Friday morning before turning the gun on himself, authorities said Saturday.
Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said Bruce and Nancy Schaefer's daughter, who lives in the same gated community as the Schaefers, discovered their bodies in a bedroom about 5:30 p.m. Friday. He said a handgun was used in the shootings and was found near Bruce Schaefer's body.
An autopsy showed Nancy Schaefer died from a gunshot wound to the back and that Bruce Schaefer died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Authorities believe Nancy Schaefer was asleep when she was shot, probably sometime Friday morning, Terrell said.
Several notes written by Bruce Schaefer were left behind.
"Some financial problems were mentioned," Terrell said. "That might have been one reason."
Contrary to previous reports, Bruce Schaefer, 74, was not suffering from any serious illnesses at the time of the shootings, their daughter told the sheriff. Authorities were unaware of Nancy Schaefer, 73, having any major health problems, Terrell said.
News of the prominent conservative Republican's sudden death was met by Habersham County residents with "utter shock," said State Rep. Rick Austin, who represents Habersham County and part of White County. Austin announced her death from the House floor Friday evening.
"It's just utter disbelief," Austin said Saturday. "You never know. If there was a family that you would have thought would be very much immune to something like this, it would have been that family. People are deeply saddened. It's just a terrible tragedy."
Austin, who knew Schaefer for several years, described the former lawmaker as "a great, graceful lady, who was very involved in her community and very passionate about the issues that concerned her. She's going to be deeply missed."
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle released a statement Saturday, saying, "I had the privilege of serving with Nancy for several years in the state Senate and appreciated her kind heart and desire to serve the people of Georgia well. Nita and I will be praying for the entire Schaefer family and ask that the Lord will provide them with peace that passes all understanding during this difficult time." Schaefer, who has been active in conservative Christian causes for many years, was president of Family Concerns, a Christian organization.
She was elected in 2004 after federally redrawn legislative districts created an open seat in the 50th District. She defeated two Republican challengers and a Democrat to win the seat.
Prior to that, Schaefer ran for mayor of Atlanta in 1993, was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 1994 and finished third in the GOP race for governor in 1998.
Gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal, who represented the 9th U.S. Congressional District for nine terms, issued a statement Saturday saying that Schaefer was "passionate about her work and the causes to which she was so devoted."
"She will be remembered for her public service to Georgia," Deal said. "Sandra and I will join others in praying for her family in this terrible tragedy."
Before seeking re-election in 2008, Schaefer considered a challenge to U.S. Rep. Paul Broun for the 10th District congressional seat. She later chose to run for re-election to the state senate, but lost in the Republican primary to eventual winner Jim Butterworth.
On Saturday, Butterworth issued a statement to area media expressing his condolences to the Schaefer family.
"The Schaefers were a blessing to many who were privileged to know them," Butterworth said. "We are reminded that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and as the Schaefer family mourns their loss, they can be assured that Amy and I will keep them in our prayers for many months to come."
Don Thomas, a state senator from Dalton, said he knew the Schaefers well and traveled to Habersham County to help support them in Nancy Schaefer's last campaign.
"They were a real strong, Christian conservative family, and you wonder why something like this happens," Thomas said. "They seemed just madly in love all of their lives. It would appear there was never a cross word between them."
Schaefer was a former first vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, a frequent speaker to churches of all denominations, a speaker to civic and political organizations and a frequent guest on radio and local and national television programs. She once was host of a daily commentary show on WNIV-AM, an Atlanta Christian radio station, according to her state Senate biography.
In 2001, she became the first female trustee of Toccoa Falls College.
She and her husband lived in Atlanta for 35 years before relocating to Habersham County, where they settled in The Orchard, a gated golf community near Turnerville.
The 50th District, which she served, includes Habersham, Rabun, Towns, Stephens, Banks, Franklin, Hart and a portion of White counties.
Schaefer and her husband had five children and 13 grandchildren.
Source: Gainesville Times
CPS opponents jumping to conclusions about the murder suicide of Nancy Schaefer and her husband
The Gainesville Times has been covering the death of former Georgia State Senator and advocate for family rights and the reform of Child Protective Services, Nancy Schaefer.
Said the Times yesterday, "Troubled by financial problems, the husband of former state Sen. Nancy Schaefer shot his wife to death as she lay sleeping Friday morning before turning the gun on himself, authorities said Saturday."
"Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said Bruce and Nancy Schaefer's daughter, who lives in the same gated community as the Schaefers, discovered their bodies in a bedroom about 5:30 p.m. Friday. He said a handgun was used in the shootings and was found near Bruce Schaefer's body."
"An autopsy showed Nancy Schaefer died from a gunshot wound to the back and that Bruce Schaefer died from a gunshot wound to the chest.""
Already many people who are advocating that Child Protective Services be abolished or reformed are claiming that it is not a murder-suicide and that something more sinister happened and everything is being covered up.
I say, "Slow down."
One thing that is killing our movement for the reform of Child Protective Services is that too many advocates see conspiracies everywhere. We could accomplish a lot more in this movement if we would stop worrying about who shot JFK, who shot JR, did W order the destruction of the World Trade Center and similar questions. Stop worrying about the Trilateral Commission, the Bohemian Grove, ZOG, and the conspiracy of world bankers and focus on what you can do about the abuses of Child Protective Services in the county or state where you live.
Deal in facts and fight the battles that you actually have the brains and ability to win. Don't ruin your reputation and your ability to persuade people by following the likes of David Icke.
Right now there is no evidence to assume that anyone else but Nancy Schaefer's husband killed her. Until we find out different, we should keep our mouths shut and not sully the memory of Nancy Schaefer by jumping to conclusions and saying things that do nothing to honor her.
RIP Nancy Schaefer!
Addendum: An article on the Schaefers' financial troubles gives a possible motive.
Foreclosure was looming for Schaefers
Whether financial troubles were the motive for the March 26 murder-suicide of Nancy and Bruce Schaefer of Turnerville isn't known.
What is clear is that financial problems were plaguing the couple.
At 9:06 a.m. Wednesday, March 31, hours before the Schaefers' funeral in Toccoa, The Northeast Georgian received a legal advertisement of notice of sale under power to secure debt by Nancy S. Schaefer.That legal advertisement notice states the original principal amount was $755,000.
The home is scheduled to be sold "at a public outcry for cash to the highest bidder before the courthouse door of Habersham County" during legal hours of sale on the first Tuesday of May (May 4).
The 4,700-square-foot house, located at 458 Yates Circle, Clarkesville, is located within the private, gated golf course community known as The Orchard near Turnerville.
The home is valued at $629,000, according to the Habersham County Tax Assessors' Office.
Source: Northeast Georgian