Obituary of Clark Shiffer
Clark Nelson Shiffer, age 77, of State College passed away on April 7, 2017 at the Mt Nittany Medical Center in State College, PA after a brief illness. He was the son of Henry and Gladys (nee Fleisher) Shiffer. He was a graduate of Elizabethtown College with a BS degree in biology and pursued graduate work at Penn State University in Entomology. He taught High School Biology in Newport PA, and then worked for the PA Fish and Boat Commission as an aquatic biologist from 1967 until his retirement in 1993. Prior to his retirement he served at the Commission as Herpetology and Endangered Species Coordinator. He was a champion of The Endangered Species Protection Act, chiefly for the timber rattlesnake and for certain amphibious species of Pennsylvania, which was signed into law by then Governor Dick Thornburgh. He was also instrumental in House Bill 163 which was an Act providing for a voluntary contribution system to aid in the conservation of certain wild flora and fauna. His interests, which began early in childhood, included collecting, studying, photographing, and writing about all aspects of conservation and the betterment of our shared wild resources. Most notably as a collector he amassed a considerable collection of dragonflies, damselflies, and diptera (fly species). During failing health issues, with the generous assistance and organizational work of a cherished friend and colleague(s), he achieved the desired goal of publishing "Dragonfly and Damselfly Colonization and Recolonization of a Large, Semi-permanent Pennsylvania Pond" in what is widely held as the longest continuous study of a single wetlands habitat known to date. He preferred to photograph his subjects "open handed", without the use of tripods or artificial posing, and his slide collection numbers into the tens of thousands. He was most proud of a number of images which captured subject behaviors never seen before in the wild. Although he contributed to, and is published in multiple books and printed materials, he never sought any special acknowledgment or compensation beyond only hoping that his contributions would further the interests and pursuits of the subject for others. In 2015, he humbly accepted a lifetime achievement recognition award during the Dragonfly Society of Americas group meeting in State College. He studied relentlessly, utilizing any and all resources from published papers, books, and colleagues to further understand the natural curiosities around him. His extensive collection is housed in the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Museum of Entomology, in Gainesville. He will be greatly missed not only for who he was, but for the knowledge he possessed, his curiosity for wonder, and his keen observations he would willingly share with others.
He is survived by three children; Tom G. of Shrewsbury, MA, Joan S. Olds (Tom) of Coatesville, PA, and Curtis A. (Becky) of State College, PA. 5 grandchildren; Christopher, Timothy, Jonathan, Andrew and Daniel Olds; One brother, R. Brent Shiffer of Millerstown, PA, one sister, Gwen S. Miller of Harrisburg, PA, and former wife Mary M. Shiffer of Devon, PA. He was a member of the University Baptist and Brethren Church in State College for many years. Funeral arrangements will be private. Memorial contributions may be made in the form of supporting organizations that truly promote and further the conservation of our natural world for future generations.
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com or visit us on Facebook.
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