Raymond Philip Shafer was born March 5, 1917, in New Castle, Pennsylvania to Rev. David P. and Mina Belle Shafer. He moved to Meadville in 1933 when his father was appointed pastor to the First Christian Church. Ray Shafer is the youngest of a family of five (siblings are Ruth, Paul, Harold and Gladys). He attended Meadville High School for only his senior year, but was successful, being elected president to several school organizations. Ray Shafer began his excellence in sports as he became a member of the school’s championship basketball team. He also played Little League baseball and football. Shafer similarly demonstrated his academic achievements as he was named to the National Honor Society and was valedictorian of his class. His involvement in Boy Scouts (achieving Eagle Scout) began at this time and was to continue throughout his life.