Harry Lovell Shaffer III was born in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia, and always carried a wallet that said “Bad Mother Fucker”.
He served in the Iraq war in the U.S. Army’s First Cavalry unit, where he distinguished himself as a crypto-analytic linguist specializing in Arabic.
While he was serving in Iraq he reached out to a woman he had been friends with but had never spoken with on MySpace. After numerous messages and emails they decided to meet while he was on leave. They married 5 days later.
After his deployment he was honorably discharged; he then moved to Fargo, North Dakota to be with his new wife Kiere. He attended Minnesota State University Morehead and studied under Henry Gwiazda, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition.
Harry and Kiere moved to Asheville in 2013 and he soon put his passion for music to work. He meticulously studied the sound quality and design of traditional sitars and innovated a totally new way to make them. He became a professional luthier, selling carbon fiber sitars to collectors and musicians all over the world. The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona has one of Harry’s first carbon fiber sitars in their collection.
Harry loved so many things: Ninja films. Composing music. Microtonality. Writing. Synthesizers. Art. Architecture. Cracking jokes. Playing in bands. Wearing and showing off his collection of new and vintage Swatch watches. Cosplay. Any and all things Star Wars.
He loved bonsai and Japanese maples. The sound of falling snow, and rain during a thunderstorm. The smell of ozone and diesel.
He filled his altar with iconography of deities, ancestors, fresh flowers, and incense. He would meditate at his altar regularly.
His favorite meal was breakfast. His favorite food was sushi, followed by a good burger and fries.
He was a gifted composer, inventor, and artist who delighted in both the traditional and experimental. He could make anything and even built his own fully functioning lightsaber with authentic sound and light effects.
He loved words. His favorite present was a new book.
He wrote “event scores” that encouraged presence, questioning reality, and looking at things with a fresh perspective.
He loved everyday life, the life of hiking in the mountains with his dogs and wife, or watching a dark comedy on the couch.
He was health conscious and active. He ran ultra-marathons in the Army and worked out in his home gym every day.
Recently he decided to complete his current sitar builds and start a new chapter as a full-stack developer, because if you haven’t already figured this out, Harry could do anything. This was a life change he was so excited to make.
Harry died in his home gym from a blood clot that dislodged while working out and was found in the early hours of Saturday morning, June 4th. He was 46 years old. The family believes the cause to be COVID related, but unfortunately will never have the proof to back up that claim.
He died surrounded by beauty, creativity, and the things he loved. His new synthesizer was out on the kitchen table. His meditation cushions were dimpled from use.
Harry is survived by his loving spouse of 15 years, Kiere Shaffer. His surviving children are Sir Barrington William Cavendish, the Appalachian Big Foot Basset Hound and Artemis, the COVID rescue dog. His in-laws Larry and Carol T. Kuether, Kaleb Kuether, Kalle K. Godel and their respective spouses and children.
He is also survived by his mother Juanita Gail Shaffer and by his surviving siblings, Lisa Nielsen, Gabrielle Wiggins, and Katrina Shaffer, and their respective spouses and children. He’s preceded in death by his father Harry Lovell Shaffer II and Eleanor, his beloved “beaglier” dog.
Harry’s philosophy of life might best be reflected in a Buddhist quote: “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self; to study the self is to forget the self; to forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the body and mind of others drop away. No trace of realization remains and this no trace continues endlessly.” but also, fuck capitalism.
Due to the unexpected nature of Harry’s death, contributions to settle his estate and his memorial fund would be appreciated. Donations can be made here on this gofundme page.
Your support and condolences are greatly appreciated.