Isaac Daniel “Ike” Kauffman, a longtime resident of Gratz, died August 22, 2023.
Born at his parent’s home in rural Point Township, Northumberland County, Pa., three miles from Northumberland on a small farm along the Old Danville Road at 1:00 AM in the morning on Friday, March 3, 1933. He was the only child of Charles “Irvin” Kauffman and Flossie Anna (Rebuck) Kauffman. He was 90 years old. He spent as much time growing up in Washington and Upper Mahanoy Township, Northumberland County (both his parents were born and raised there) as he did in Point Township, with the eventually result he learned at an early age the Pennsylvania/German dialect.
Isaac graduated from the rural two-room Spruce Hollow in Point Township, a township elementary school in 1947. He started at the rural school in September 1939 and graduated from Northumberland Junior High School in 1948. He took the academic course in Northumberland Senior High School graduating from Priestly Joint High School (the former Northumberland High School), in 1951. Only two senior classes graduated from Priestly Joint High School (1951 and 1952) before the school reverted back to the Northumberland High School name again in 1953 by popular demand.
Isaac graduated from Penn State University with an associated degree in Agricultural and from the University of California at Sacramento with an associated degree in American History and Genealogy, while living at the at the McClellan Air Force Base at Sacramento, California.
While living on the campus at Penn State, Isaac was a member of the Army’s Junior Regular Officer’s Training Core (ROTC) for two years. Beginning in March 1953 he enlisted and served eight years in the U.S. Air Force. Four years on active duty and four years in the Air Force Reserves. He was discharged honorably from the Air Force at Olmstead Air Force Base, near Harrisburg, in March 1961. He had enlisted for an eight-year commitment.
While in the military, Isaac graduated from the Air Forces Basic Training School at Sampson Air Force Base, Lake Geneva, New York, in June 1953. He attended and graduated from the Air Forces Aircraft and Engine Propeller School at Wichita Falls, Texas in 1954, and from the Air Forces, S A - 16 Flight School at West Palm Beach Air Force Base, Florida also in 1954. He was also trained to fly and to work on helicopters at this same school. In addition, he graduated from the Air Force Supply School at Cheyenne, Wyoming, (he worked in the Air Force’s Supply Depot while overseas and for a short time while stationed in California). He graduated from the Air Forces Non-Commission Officer’s Academy at Otis Air Force Base, Falmouth, Massachusetts, in 1956, and the Electronic Controlled EC-121 Aircraft Radar School at McClellan Air Force Base, near Sacramento, California, in early 1957.
Isaac, a veteran of the Korea War, served one-year abroad in the country of Iceland, while serving in the Air Force and while stationed here was on flying status. He flew to eleven European countries as an aircraft mechanic accompanied by Air Force flight officers from the Keflavik Air Base in the country of Iceland.
After he was discharged from military service, the State of Pennsylvania awarded Isaac, as the State of Pennsylvania did to all their veterans of that war, one thousand dollars for his participation in the war.
While stationed for two years in Sacramento, California at McClellan Air Force Base, Isaac served as an assistant crew-chief on a C-47 and on a B-25 aircraft. He was not on flying status at the time but taxied the airplanes on the flight line.
Isaac Kauffman was twice married. His first wife Molly Ann (Musser) Kauffman, who he married on November 2, 1957, died at age 32, in April 1968. They were married for ten years. After his first wife’s death, Isaac married Shirley (Snyder) Kauffman. Shirley had a daughter, Karen Straub, Ressler, Shuttlesworth by a previous marriage. Karen would become Isaac’s step-daughter and cared for him in his later years. The two of them became very close after Isaac married Karen’s mother. Isaac and Shirley together raised Isaac’s three sons. Isaac and Shirley Kauffman enjoyed almost 50 years of marriage until Shirley died in late November 2017, at age 92, at the Millersburg Nursing Home. Shirley’s parents were good friends to Isaac’s parents. The four of them had grown-up together.
Isaac was employed for five years at Campbell Brothers Paper Company, (1957 to 1962), 82 North Eight Street, in Sunbury, as a salesman for the paper company and as a truck driver and at the Robert D. Davis Funeral Home, Northumberland for five years (1968 to 1973). Here he helped with all aspects of the funeral profession. All this without a degree from an embalming school.
Isaac was a member of Grace Lutheran Church, of Point Township for many years. He served as secretary for Grace Lutheran Church, and at the same time, served as secretary for the joint ministerial-ship of Grace and Trinity Lutheran Churches in Point Township. At the same time, in the early 1970’s, he ran for supervisor of Point Township, but lost the general election by only several votes to the late Neil Mertz.
Isaac, over a 40-year period owned two poultry farms in Point Township. His first farm was along the Old Danville Road, in Point Township, Northumberland County, and the second farm was near the former Lithia Spring’s Park. At these two farms and several more nearby farms he rented, he raised poultry, specializing in White Leghorn laying hens for 17 years, from 1957 until 1974. He had many commercial and residential egg-routes in the Point Township/Hummel's Wharf, Northumberland /Upper Augusta Township and Sunbury areas. He even sold dressed roasting chickens during Thanksgiving and sold Christmas trees from his farm from 1965 to 1974. Always the entrepreneur, after selling his laying hens he was engaged in livestock and grain farming until 1993, when he retired permanently at age 60. At one-point Isaac farmed 500-acres, both rented and owned ground in Point Township.
In the early 1990’s, Isaac Kauffman built Kauffman Lane, and started selling building lots on his Lithia Springs isolated farm. He built Kauffman Lane in Point Township and started what today is known as the Kauffman Housing Development in Point Township.
In the year 2000, Isaac and his wife Shirley relocated to Gratz, a small farming community in northern Dauphin County, populated these days almost extensively by members of the Old-Order Amish sect which still use horses and buggies to get around from place to place. Here, Isaac and his wife lived in retirement until his second wife Shirley died in November 2017, at age 92.
Isaac was an avid reader of history books and magazines, especially those on the American Civil War and World War Two years. Isaac grew up during the Great Depression and the World War Two years. He was an enemy aircraft spotter late in the war at Northumberland.
Over the years he wrote many articles about his family genealogy, as well as many stories about life in Central Pennsylvania when he was young. He wrote about the history of every farm in Point Township including his own farm. Since his retirement, as well as, for the past 40 years Isaac has continued to write extensively. particularly since the beginning of the computer age. He kept journals, notebooks, and scrapbooks his entire life. He was the unofficial historian of the Kauffman family, writing extensively about the first German of his family to arrive in Pennsylvania from the country of Germany 266 years ago. He was among the seventh generation of his family to live in America.
The arrival of the computer age was a god-send to him. He has written more than one thousand articles on his computer concerning American history, local history of the Central Susquehanna Valley, and family genealogy, among many other stories on a whole host of subjects. Over the years he built up a large collection of email correspondents that he frequently exchanged emails with. He has written articles for other local publications, including several local history books. His library includes many hard to find history and genealogy books, as well as videos and disks (DVD’s) relating to a whole host of subjects, both historical and politically.
Isaac D. Kauffman is survived by four children, Karen Louisa Shuttlesworth and her husband Michael H. Shuttlesworth Sr., both now retired, of Williamstown, Dauphin County. Scott Charles Kauffman and his wife Beatrice (Lentzy) Kauffman, both now retired of Sunbury; Kris Isaac Kauffman and his wife Bonita (Ross) Kauffman, of Sunbury; (Kris is the long time President/CEO of the Sunbury based, Central Keystone Federal Credit Union), and Larry Allan Kauffman and his wife Kathy (Trego) Kauffman, of Sunbury.
Eight grand-children survive:
Jessie Kay (Ressler/Shuttlesworth) Walsh and her husband Robert Walsh, of New Bloomfield, Perry County, Michael Howard Shuttlesworth Jr. and his wife Angie (Piere) Shuttlesworth, of Tower City, Schuylkill County; Katie (Kauffman) Cocharn, and her husband Jeremy of Sunbury; Justin Kauffman of Sunbury; Russell Moyer and Jeremy Moyer; Ryan McDonald and wife Stefanie and Jasper McDonald both of Sunbury. One grandson, Michael Moyer died in November 1999; nine great-grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren, and over 75 nieces and nephews with his two wives.
His body was cremated as per Isaac’s request. Private funeral services will be held at the convenience of the family at the Kauffman family burial plot at Riverview Cemetery, Northumberland.