1960 - 2010
At his home in Marysville, CA. Willard Schaff died unexpectedly of heart failure on May 31, 2010. Willard was a hard worker and loving father. His quiet, direct demeanor will be missed by all who knew him.
Willard was a keen observer of plants and a unique producer of seed, distinguishing himself in business by starting and developing W.S. Seeds Inc into the largest wild seed collection company in Northern California. At the time of his death, Willard was in the process of harvesting approximately 30 specialty crops from his 35-acre farm. Primarily in collaboration with Pacific Coast Seed Inc., Willard produced more than 100 species annually from a broad array of environments. Collecting and growing rare seed for diverse projects, he pioneered the first large-scale production of Deschampsia danthonioides, Pleuropogon californica, Ranunculus californica and many other natives including several vernal pool species.
Willard was born in Shields, North Dakota and graduated from Flasher High School in 1978 and from Wahpeton State School of Science in 1981 with a degree in diesel mechanics. After a brief stint in the oil business, he became the farm manager for native seed producer S&S Seed Inc. In 1999, Willard moved to Penn Valley, CA and began collecting wild seed; in 2004, he relocated to Marysville where he expanded the seed processing and production part of his business.
Mr. Schaff is survived by his daughter Rachel Schaff-Eggebrecht, 26, of Santa Barbara, CA, son Dusty Schaff, 13 of Overton, NV, and friend and partner Patty Brennwald of Roseburg, OR. Willard is also survived by his mother, Caroline Schaff of Bismarck, North Dakota and seven siblings: brothers Victor, Vernon, Harold and Cletus and sisters Sherry, Annette and Betty. Willard’s father William preceded him in death in 2000. A gathering to remember Willard is still being planned and will take place later this year. Anyone interested in attending, please contact Rachel Schaff at firstname.lastname@example.org