Obituary of Joel Elliott Schaffer
Joel Elliott Schaffer, age 74, of Atlanta, Georgia passed away on February 1, 2022. Funeral services will be held Sunday, February 6, 2022, at 1:30 PM in Memory Hill Cemetery, 2390 Hartford Highway, Dothan, Alabama 36305, with Cantor Neil Schwartz officiating. Interment will follow, Holman Funeral Home of Ozark directing. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests consideration of contributions to Temple Emanu-El, 188 N. Park Avenue, Dothan, AL 36303, or their charity of choice. Joel was born on January 7, 1948 in Ozark, Alabama, the eldest son of Sylvia and Nathan Schaffer, the only Jewish family in Ozark. Joel grew up listening to Clear Channel radio stations in St. Louis, Atlanta and other places far away playing Big Band music late into the night, filling his bedroom with the soundtrack for his life and sparking a wanderlust in Joel that would soon pull him away from Ozark. In high school, Joel was selected to be a Page for Congressman George Andrews of the Alabama delegation of the United States House of Representatives in Washington DC. This experience launched a lifelong interest in politics and political discussion. He shared his father’s lifelong love of Crimson Tide football and made many friends within the Tide football family such as the great All-American Fred Sington, and his wife, with whom Joel would often meet at Michael’s Steakhouse in Birmingham on game day and then be driven by them to the gates at Legion Field to see the game. A picture of Paul “Bear“ Bryant was personally autographed to Joel and proudly hung on the wall of his dining room. Joel graduated from Carroll High School in Ozark, and attended Georgia State University. After a short stint as a night clerk for Pro Wrestler Paul Jones’ White House Hotel in downtown Atlanta, and later for Fulton County voter registration, Joel found his home with the Fulton County court system. Joel began as a clerk in the back room of the criminal division and was quickly moved to the front desk because of his patience and ability to handle the public. Soon after, Joel was promoted again, this time to courtroom deputy clerk and calendar clerk and ultimately a Senior Judicial Case Manager for a who’s who of Fulton County judges, starting with the Honorable Woodrow Tucker; when Judge Tucker retired, Joel served under former State Senator and future Chief Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Honorable Ed Johnson; when Judge Johnson moved to the Court of Appeals, Joel served under the Honorable Mel Westmoreland in the State Court of Fulton County; and when Judge Westmoreland moved to the Superior Court, Joel served under the former attorney for the City of Atlanta and State Court Judge, the Honorable Susan Forsling. Joel was also instrumental in the formation of the Fulton County DUI Court. Joel was a valued employee and only worked for the best and brightest. Following his retirement, Joel relaxed and began an extended and enthusiastic exploration of his many and varied interests. Joel enjoyed his annual trips to Spring Training in Florida and Arizona and visiting ballparks throughout the United States. Possibly his fondest memories were his trips to England with his godson, Scott Miller, where he lived his dream of visiting Chartwell, the home of Joel’s idol, Winston Churchill, and travelling from England to France via the Chunnel to storm the Beaches at Normandy. Joel enjoyed his Dunhill cigars; Braves baseball games with Scott Miller and Billy Rudolph; Katz’ pastrami; his mother’s cheesecake; the canine trio of Augie Doggie, Bernard, and Jolene; meeting broadcasters Vin Scully (another idol) and a drunk Mel Allen; fantasy baseball; long talks with Lane Miller; history books; sitting on the set of the Tonight Show playing the role of Ed McMahon; Baltimore crabcakes; talking with Ted Turner in the courthouse bathroom; hats; talking with Ringo Starr in the courthouse bathroom; Aunt Lillian: Pink’s hot dogs; Turners in Ozark; the Ice House; oysters; and Dreamland. These were just a few of his favorite things. Joel is survived by his brother Steven Schaffer and sister Beth Schaffer of Montgomery Alabama. He is also survived by David, Nancy, Lane (and Danielle) and Scott (and Erin) Miller, the family that he adopted and that adopted him and loved him for just being Joel. We will all miss his kind, gentle, generous and selfless spirit so very much.