Max Shaffer, 94, died at home May 1. He was a man who didn’t need a lot to be happy — he just was. He loved life. He sang when he walked down the street and relished being “up.” He loved cowboy movies in his recliner, cold Coca-Colas, and the lottery tickets he purchased nearly daily. He loved gliding across the dance floor with his beautiful bride of 70 years Freida Lee Frankel; sharing everything bagels at a weekly lunch with his daughter Janece; toasting Friday night with a Scotch and his son Ken; and traveling with his son Steve for a boy’s weekend in Vegas. He never ended a call with family without asking, “Have I told you that I loved you today?”
If given the chance Max would gladly tell you about the time he met the Pope in Rome after the war or when the song he wrote, “Love Me Little Love One” was performed by Marvin Fields on Atlanta television in the 1950s.
Max was also a man of great faith. He started and ended every day of his life with prayer. He was the grandson of a rabbi who helped settle a new Jewish community in Cork Ireland 80 years ago. He had dreams of being a cantor when he was a boy and then later a doctor. After earning a business degree from the University of Georgia, he spent his career in retail — owning a grocery store and then a liquor store.
Max was a twin and the youngest of Esther and Sam Shaffer’s six children: Hyman, Sol, Hank, Joe and Gertrude. He was raised in a brick home on Pulliam Street in now downtown Atlanta and attended Atlanta’s Boy’s High. He left home for the first time as a skinny, 18-year-old drafted into the service during World War II. He remembered Army life vividly, being the last one to finally make it over the wall in basic training, making lifelong friends and firing a gun so hot that it was nearly impossible to hold. Forty years after his service ended, Max was awarded the Bronze Star for his bravery in crossing enemy territory to deliver a necessary dispatch.
Max leaves no one uncertain of how he felt about them. He loved unabashedly and unconditionally, and the love came back to him in great abundance. He will be missed and forever treasured by his family.
He is survived by his wife Freida Lee Frankel; son and daughter-in-law Steve Shaffer and Sue Miller of Boca Raton, Fla.; son Kenneth Shaffer of Atlanta; daughter and son-in-law Janece Shaffer and Bill Nigut of Atlanta; grandchildren Sydney Shaffer, Mickey Shaffer, Bill Nigut, Caroline Hollingsworth, Emma Nigut, Rob and Karen Miller; great-grandchildren Ella and Olivia Miller, and Julien Roizen.
There was a closed service for family May 4. Donations may be made in memory of Max Shaffer to Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, Weinstein Hospice or any charity of choice. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999