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Gordon Phol Schopfer

Feb 1, 2013

Gordon Phol Schopfer

Gordon Phol Schopfer, 96, went to

be with Jesus on Dec. 19, 2012, with

his family at his bedside. He was born in

West Leyden, N.Y., to Earl E. and Erma

C. Schopfer May 5, 1916.

The family moved to Syracuse in

1920. He attended public schools with

significant interest in the Boy Scouts,

playing the trumpet and entrepreneurship.

He earned distinction in archery,

by winning the 1934 Junior

Championship of the United States.

He furthered his education as a graduate

of the Syracuse University School

of Architecture in 1939. He was a member

of Psi Upsilon fraternity. After graduation

he apprenticed in New York City

and Washington, D.C., where he was a

supervising architect for the production

of working drawings for the Pentagon


He served his country for 3 1/2 years

by enlisting in the 332nd Engineering

Regiment of the Army Corp of

Engineers as a captain, supply officer

and a recipient of the Bronze Star in the

European Theater.

Returning home, he met and married

Rhonda F. Reed of Geneva, N.Y.,

moved back to Syracuse and founded

Schopfer Architects in 1948. His

firm, through his leadership, gained

distinction in a wide scope of practice;

including churches, banks, commercial

and residential projects, all of

which bore his unique stamp.

Spanning a career of working and

building in downtown Syracuse, he

was an urban innovator and key leader

in the creation and promotion of a new

planned civic core called the

Community Plaza. As a direct result,

he was chosen by I.M. Pei and

Partners to be one of the principle,

supervising architects for the Everson

Museum project.

Schopfer Architects continues today

dedicated to maintaining the high professional

standards established by its

founder. Gordon and Ronnie retired to

Sanibel Island in 1986 where they

became actively involved in community


Gordon contributed his time and talents

to the Sanibel Community

Association, Lions, The Military

Officers of America and the Lake

Murex Association. His architectural

background was well appreciated and

utilized in a consultative way, which

Gordon thoroughly enjoyed. Gordon

and Ronnie went North every summer to

enjoy boating with family and friends on

the St. Lawrence River, returning to

Florida before the permafrost settled in.

His quiet wisdom and subtle

strength made him a sought-after

voice of experience to family and

friends alike. He truly was one of

“The Greatest Generation’s” finest.

His passing has left a huge hole in the

hearts of his friends, family and long

time special friend, JoAnn Bock.

Gordon’s involvement with the

Community House began, first as a volunteer,

and later as a long-time member

of the SCA Board of Directors. He

played a central role in SCA’s property

acquisition and development efforts. In

recognition of his important contributions,

he was named Director Emeritus

of the SCA, and in 2009 he was further

honored with creation of the Gordon

Schopfer Lifetime Achievement Award

for service to SCA. He will be sorely


Gordon was predeceased by his

parents, Erma and Earl, beloved wife

of 53 years Ronnie, and his brother,

Ralph. He is survived by his sons, Dr.

Gary (Connie) R. Schopfer of

Liverpool, N.Y., E. Kevin (Carol)

Schopfer of Weston, Mass., grandchildren,

Cynthia (Keith) Langford of

Kissimee, Fla., Courtney Duclos

Schopfer of New York, N.Y., Andrew

(Jana) E. Schopfer of Poughkeepsie,

N.Y., and two great grandchildren,

Reed Daniel and Tessa Louise.

A celebration of his life will be

held at the Sanibel Community

Association on Thursday, Feb. 21, at

3:30 p.m. for family and friends.

There will be a reception following

the gathering.

Contributions can be made to the

Sanibel Community Association,

2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL