Lawrence S. Schaffner (1934–2018)


Lawrence Sherwood Schaffner, 83, a Burleith resident since the 1960s, died at home on April 14, 2018. Born in Center Moriches, Long Island, NY, in 1934, Mr. Schaffner graduated cum laude with a BA from New York University and a JD & LLM with honors from Georgetown University Law Center where he was editor of the Georgetown Law Journal.

A member of the bars of the District of Columbia and the state of New York, Mr. Schaffner clerked for the Hon. Charles Fahy and was appointed by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy as Assistant US Attorney for the District of Columbia. Recalls former R Street neighbor Perrin Radley, “Pictures of Larry as a young lawyer show a handsome, accomplished man—just the sort of person Robert Kennedy would have made an Assistant US Attorney. Looking back on those days, Larry would tell me how he hoped to expose corruption and to put us further towards a just society. Experience and wisdom tempered those hopes considerably, which could lead him to express disillusion at the way the world was going.”

After a decade in the private practice of law, Mr. Schaffner joined the office of the General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, from which he retired in 2014. A former FCC colleague called him a "consummate lawyer," adding, “If you found yourself with a problem, Larry was always ready with advice, advice that when not taken usually ended with a significant level of regret.”

In his homily at Mr. Schaffner’s funeral service at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, The Reverend Jim Quigley said that Mr. Schaffner was known as a gardener (both in Burleith and at the church), good neighbor, friend, Yankee fan, and lover of music and detective novels. “Whether at work or at home, Larry quietly observed people, and as one who truly loved humansor we might say humanityhe was often amused by people’s foibles and was always ready to dispense his wisdom and life-lessons.”

An officer of the BCA for several years, Mr. Schaffner was a major player in establishing residential parking protections in DC in the early 1970s. When similar restrictions prohibiting commuter parking in designated residential areas in Arlington County were overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court, the county appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. Mr. Schaffner, representing DC’s residential parking neighborhoods, and the Justice Department joined Arlington County in successfully arguing before the Supreme Court that the commuter parking restrictions be upheld. In 1977 Mr. Schaffner was honored by the DC Confederation of Civic Associations for his work saving the DC residential parking program.

Mr. Schaffner is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Irene; his son John (Jen) and his cherished grandsons, Sam and Henry Schaffner of Worthington, OH; and his daughter Cindy Trask (Gotfred Beardshear) of Lawrence, KS.

Mr. Schaffner’s funeral was held on April 30 at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, where the Schaffners were longtime parishioners. Instead of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to St. Alban’s (