January 18, 1935 ~ May 15, 2020

Born in: Ontario , Oregon
Resided in: Littleton, Colorado

Joan Shaffer, 85, passed away on May 15, 2020 from cancer. Her family was at her side. She was born in Ontario, Oregon on January 18, 1935 to Frank Burton Walter and Edith Woolf Walter.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and various locations in Colorado, Joan graduated high school in Fort Collins, Colorado. She then attended Colorado State University. She married James F. Phelps, Jr. on August 28, 1955. Together, they had three children: Doug, Ron, and Shari. Joan later remarried to Berton Shaffer on July 27, 1985.

At Colorado State University, she was a Tri-Delta, sang in the acapella choir and was a piano accompanist for various vocal soloists.
In 1966, she earned her BSC in Elementary Education from the University of Colorado at Denver. She taught 3rd and 5th grade elementary school in Colorado Springs for 10 years.

After a family move to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1976, she began a 43-year real estate career. Her profession began with Hooten Stahl Real Estate, then as Vice President for the ABQ development company. Returning to the Denver metro area in 1991, she joined Etkin & Johnson. In 1994 she formed her own company, the Joan Shaffer Group. She was affiliated with RE/MAX Professionals for 24 years before joining Colorado Home Realty in 2013. Joan didn’t fully retire from her passion for real estate until her health began to decline in 2019.

Joan was always cheerful with a smile that lit up a room. She inspired others and made sure that everyone felt loved, appreciated and important. She was known to be a person of honesty and persistence. People described her as the ultimate professional and was always classy. Her zeal for real estate was all about the people she served, attested to by the dozens of clients who would become life-long friends.

Joan is survived by her two sons, Doug (and Donna Holste) Phelps of Littleton Colorado and Ron (and Karen Patterson) Phelps of Centennial Colorado, and by her son-in-law Curt (and Patsy Rodriguez) Bluto of Tucson Arizona. Also by her many loving step-children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her only daughter, Shari Phelps Bluto, and James F. Phelps Jr. and Berton Shaffer.

A private memorial service is being held. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family invites memorial contributions to be made to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Organization in memory of her daughter, Shari.


The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Joan Shaffer's name.

Susan G. Komen Foundation


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  1. Joan was a beautiful soul. She was source of inspiration to me for her joyous attitude, professionalism, kindness and constant smile. Susie Limmer

  2. Joan was a Friend from grade schools. She lived across the street from Harris school. We did lots jr. Hi and high school and onto college. Then both were Tri Delta at Colorado A andM( now CSU). A great friend and will be very much missed.

  3. Rest in peace my beloved friend. 💗 Loving thoughts of you will remain in my heart. Blessings of comfort to all your dear family.

  4. I met Joan as a work colleague, but she quickly became a close friend. I loved her beautiful, light energy – positive and vibrant. She drew you in with her laugh and lovely, big smile and she was always so excited to connect and hear about what you had been up to. She was driven, and encouraged others to be the same, in her light, no-nonsense, you can achieve anything in life way, always offering guidance and support. I met many of her clients in my job, and it was clear she was simply adored. I’ll always remember her kindness, warmth and sense of fun! She was a very special friend. Rest in peace lovely Joan.x

  5. What a lovely service. It was great to see Doug and Donna, Ron and Karen, and pics of all the others. I miss getting up to Colorado to visit with my cousins! It was always fun to see everyone over there, but I especially loved seeing Joanie–always smiling, laughing. She always made everyone feel so welcome. I’m sure that my mom and dad were waiting to welcome her up in heaven. Susan Morgan


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