Thomas “Tom” Schafft, age 62, of St. Charles, passed away unexpectedly on May 11, 2021, taking his dreams of the future, but leaving a legacy of memories for his family and friends to cherish.

He was born January 21, 1959 in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada, to loving parents, Hugo and Marianne (Andresen) Schafft.

Tom’s parents were German immigrants who crossed the pond after WWII, landing in Canada, but settled in Des Plaines, IL. Tom attended local schools and graduated from Maine West High School with the class of 1977. Before graduating, Tom made his presence known as a “reluctant” goalie on the high school soccer team. He didn’t want to play the position, but his tall and lanky stature made him perfect to guard between the posts. 

Tom continued his education at Western Illinois University, where he studied a myriad of subjects but received a bachelor’s degree in computer science. It was also noted that he studied his future wife, Linda Smith on her second day of her Freshman year. As luck would have it, he “aced the test” and they were united in marriage on June 6, 1982.

They began their new life together with Tom’s mother for a time while Linda finished school. After a stop in a few neighboring towns, they settled in Campton Hills and raised a family that included two sons and a daughter.

Tom spent his career as an IT Specialist for Ace Hardware and followed the arc of technology for the next 39 years.

Tom could fix anything, and if he couldn’t, he researched the solution and made it a reality. He was a jack of all trades, but master of none. Carpentry, plumbing, electrical, bricklaying, Tom did it all. He was a naturalist and embodied the term “outdoorsman”; backpacking with his son Derek all over Glacier National Park, climbing Long’s Peak by himself and taking a fishing trip to the Boundary Waters in Canada with his sons and son-in-law. To compensate his “guy’s trip”, he told Linda to pick a destination for just them and found himself vacationing in a cottage in England. Family was number 1 in his life and heart and he willingly and lovingly sacrificed anything and everything for his family, especially his grandchildren who loved to call him Opa. Although he wasn’t outgoing by nature, Tom’s spirit was genuine, and you couldn’t help but feel better in his presence. Tom made his mark on the hearts of all who knew him, and he will never be forgotten.

He is survived by his loving wife of almost 39 years, Linda Schafft; three children: Derek (Gaby) Schafft and their son Noah, due in July; Brianna (Jeffrey) Cole and their children, Elijah and Ayla; and Caleb (Theresa) Schafft; three siblings: Anke (John) Roelle, Peter (Deborah) Schafft and Ingrid (Don) Blahut; many nieces, nephews and a family of friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Hugo and Marianne Schafft and his father-in-law, Vance Smith.

Visitation will be from 3:30-5:30 p.m. with a service to celebrate his life to begin at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, May 15, 2021, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119.

Contributions may be made to the charity of your choice. Tributes and memories may be shared on the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at where you can see Tom’s life story.

6 thoughts on “THOMAS “Tom” SCHAFFT

  1. Linda, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Sending you all my hugs and prayers. Hold on to all your wonderful memories.

  2. Linda and family- I am so sorry for your loss. May God give you strength to keep his memories close and ease your pain. Love and hugs ❤ RHS 79

  3. So incredibly sorry for your loss. I worked with Tom my entire 30 years at Ace. He was a great guy, incredibly dependable, loved to solve problems. I’ll never forget one “surprise” Ace-iversary celebration for Tom, probably his 25th, where he came in to the big conference room, listened to his accolades, then pulled out a pre-prepared very long, fabulous and funny POEM about his experiences at Ace. We were all in shock and absolutely loved it! If any Ace folks out there snagged a copy of that masterpiece, it would be amazing to hear it again. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and the happy memories Tom created won’t be lost at Ace Hardware.

  4. I worked with Tom for over 25 years and cannot believe he is gone. We both retired at the same time and he has definitely left this world far too soon. Sympathies to all of you. My heart breaks for all of you. RIP Tom. 💔

  5. Tom was my boss for several years at Ace Hardware, starting back in the early 2000’s. He always kept family photos on his desk and through the years they changed from kids in swimsuits splashing around, to dancing with his daughter at her wedding. The last time I saw Tom he brought a baby grandson to Ace to introduce around. He was way more proud and happy than I had ever seen him over any mere work accomplishment! To say that he lived for his family is the understatement of the world. I was lucky to have known him through work, but my deepest sympathies go out to you, his family, for this great loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Linda & Family,

    I knew, Tom as a baby and full of energy little guy: always seemed to enjoy the yard and playing with the cat. We were next door neighbors in Des Plaines. Peter and I did a lot together over those years. Please, except our condolences, I know, Tom’s with his Mom and Dad and watching over all of you!

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