I can’t wait to get up to heaven and play in the band
there. I’ll pick up my saxophone and I’m going to have a grand time.”
Frank "Buck" Shaffer, interviewed by Esther Avila, March 1, 2006
Frank ‘Buck' Shaffer dies
Porterville's musical icon, Frank “Buck” Shaffer” died Friday evening
at Porterville Convalescent Hospital. His wife Peggy, son Bill, and a
couple of close friends were at his side. He was 85.
“My dad passed away peacefully around 7:10 p.m.
Although I'm very sad by his passing, I'm thankful for the great life
that he provided to our family as a father,” Mr. Shaffer's son, Skip
Shaffer said. “I've played with many great band leaders and studied
with some of the best music teachers in the country but he will always
be number one for me.”
Buck Shaffer, the Porterville Panther Band's former
band director, suffered a massive stroke on Oct. 22 and had been
hospitalized since - his health deteriorating in the last couple of
Born Aug. 6 in Adamsville, West Virginia, Shaffer
moved to Porterville in 1953 to take a position as the Porterville
High School band director.
Mr. Shaffer's Porterville Panther Band was one of the first bands in
California to appear on television.
Under his tenure, the band also performed at the Squaw
Valley Winter Olympics in 1960, the Seattle World's Fair, five Rose
Parades, played the first holiday season parade in Disneyland in 1955
and every year annually for 32 years, represented California in New
York, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia during America's
bicentennial celebration. He took his band on another similar trip in
1984 and again in 1990, when the band played at Carnegie Hall in New
Mr. Shaffer, the 2006 Porterville Recorder Spirit of
Freedom recipient, was also the founder of the Fabulous Studio Band,
Porterville's City of Hope Spectacular and the Buck Shaffer Band-A-Rama.
In 1997, Shaffer was honored by having the theater inside the
Porterville Memorial Auditorium dedicated as the Frank “Buck” Shaffer
Theater and an exhibit at the Porterville Historical Museum focuses on
Shaffer and his Porterville Panther Band.
Just prior to his stroke, Mr. Shaffer was planning a
concert in his hometown of Shinnston, W.VA.
During a previous interview on March 1, Mr. Shaffer
said, “I'm getting tired and someday I'm going to be gone. I know the
first thing I want to do once I'm not here. I can't wait to get up to
heaven and play in the band there. I'll pick up my saxophone and I'm
going to have a grand time.”
By Esther Avila, for the Porterville Recorder on Dec.