Local doctor who helped found Dayton Children’s dies

A founding father of Dayton Children’s Hospital has died.

Dr. Alan D. Shafer, 93, died Feb. 4, according to the independent pediatrics hospital.

“Dayton Children’s would not exist today if it were not for the dedication and determination of Dr. Shafer to ensure the children of Dayton had a great children’s hospital close to home,” the hospital stated.

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Dayton Children’s said Shafer was a champion who advocated that children are not little adults, and their treatment required specific pediatric knowledge.

Shafer partnered with Elise Mead, community leader and wife of the chairman of the board of Mead Corporation; Dr. Wallace B. Taggart, a Dayton pediatrician and later with the existing Barney Convalescent Hospital; and the March of Dimes to get a dedicated children’s hospital built.

Dr. Shafer, as surgeon-in-chief, performed the first surgery — hernia repairs on two small boys — at the new Barney Children’s Medical Center on Feb. 14, 1967.

In his early days, Dr. Shafer personally transported babies who needed surgery in his station wagon in an incubator that was plugged into a cigarette lighter, Dayton Children’s stated.

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“The staff of Dayton Children’s wish to convey our most heartfelt condolences to Dr. Shafer’s family and our utmost gratitude for his determination,” stated Deborah Feldman, Dayton Children’s president and CEO. “We are humbled to be able to live his vision – making the lives of children better every day.”

Dayton Children’s named its highest physician award the Alan D. Shafer Distinguished Service Award and Shafer was the first recipient of the newly named award in 2013.

Prior to his work to launch a children’s hospital, Shafer served in the U.S. Navy and Air Force during World War II. He enjoyed living on the farm, music, fishing and staying at his cabin in Minnesota, according to his obituary.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Martha Shafer.

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