Jay “Tom” Stauffer, 79, inventor, Korean War vet

By on September 12, 2012

Jay Thomas "Tom" Stauffer, 79, of Lititz, passed away of natural causes Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012 surrounded by family at his home.

Born in Brownstown, he was the son of the late Jacob and Mary Wolf Stauffer. He was married 59 years on December 23 to Betsy Haines Stauffer.

Stauffer was a craftsman, designer and metallurgist for more than 50 years. He was world-renowned for his reproductions of pewter plates from the Colonial Era. A street near his home, Pewter Drive, is named in his honor. He worked for the former Hubley Toy Co. in Lancaster for 15 years where he designed toys of all types, including the model for the Mr. Magoo car. He later went on to work for Wilton Armetale in Columbia where he made a Presidential Seal for Air Force One and was made an honorary lieutenant colonel aide-de-camp in the Alabama State Militia by then governor George Wallace for creating a set of plates for the state. He built up his pewter reproduction business in his basement workshop and demonstrated pewter making at the Kutztown Folk Festival for more than 30 years.

An inventor, he built his own mobile home out of a converted bread truck in the 1960s before RVs were mass produced, making weekend trips with his family to Red Point, Md., and Chincoteague, Va. He created the prototype for one of the original IUD birth control devices and the mood ring and also constructed the house that he lived in for nearly 60 years.

He was a 1951 graduate of McCaskey High School. A Korean War veteran, he served in the U.S. Navy aboard the dock landing ship, USS White Marsh. He nearly drowned in an accident off the coast of Labrador after the ship struck an iceberg. An avid hunter and fisherman, he enjoyed spending time at his hunting cabin in Juniata County and his cottage on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He said his only regret in life was that he never had the opportunity to shoot a bear.

Surviving besides his wife are three daughters: Kathy, wife of Michael Yoder, of Washington, Maine; Sue, wife of Ray Leed, of Lititz; and Debra, wife of Brad Eidemiller, of Ephrata; three sons: Jay Thomas, husband of Cindy Stauffer, and Jeffrey, husband of Vickie Stauffer, both of Lititz; and David Stauffer, of Rehoboth, Mass.; 13 grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; four brothers: William Stauffer, of Brownstown; Ted, husband of Louise Stauffer, of Harrisburg; Jim, husband of Carleen Stauffer, of Anderson, S.C.; and Phillip, husband of Gail Stauffer, of Leola; and a sister: Mary Ann, wife of Robert Crockett, of Winchester, Mass.

He was preceded in death by a brother: Jacob Stauffer.

A memorial service was held Sept. 8 at the Lititz Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church, Lititz, with Pastor Harry Dow officiating. Interment will be private at the convenience of the family.

Memorial contributions in Tom’s memory may be sent to Hospice & Community Care, formerly Hospice of Lancaster County, P.O. Box 4125, Lancaster, PA 17604.

Arrangements are being made by Stradling Funeral Homes Inc., Akron/Ephrata. Online condolences can be given at stradlingfuneralhome.com.

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