Ben Schaeffer – The Embodiment of a Public Service
Ben Schaeffer was an iconic public servant, serving on numerous committees within his local TWU Local 100 RTO conductor vice chair position and part-time as an NYPD sergeant as well as being part of Brooklyn’s 70th Precinct Community Council.
Ben was extremely passionate about his work and had great affection for those he worked alongside. His memory will be sorely missed by everyone who knew and worked alongside him.
Early Life and Education
Benjamin Schaeffer was an individual who delighted in spending time with his family, especially his 3-year-old son Bransen. He would often take him fishing or playtime in the park together and was always prepared to celebrate any occasion together with them. Additionally, Benjamin adored his friends and would always celebrate any milestone together.
Ben was raised on his family ranch and developed a passion for outdoor activities and sports, particularly skiing down Queen’s Run at Crystal Mountain and playing football and baseball at school – two passions he shares with many peers at Wilson High School.
He served as a subway conductor for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and was one of only two Orthodox Jewish MTA employees. Additionally, he served part-time auxiliary NYPD officer duties while being active within Brooklyn’s 70th Precinct Community Council.
Benjamin Schaeffer made an impactful mark as an MTA conductor, both for himself and others. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he became an expert on trains and the city’s transit system; additionally, he served as writer, photographer, historian, part-time auxiliary NYPD officer as part of his distinguished service to humanity.
He made headlines for rejecting MTA requests to take off for Rosh Hashanah in 2019. Additionally, he became known as a subway hero when one of his riders attempted to pour gasoline onto one of their train cars and evacuated passengers when someone threatened with such action.
Ben was beloved by all he knew; his dedication to family, community, and country were unrivaled. He leaves behind his three children Giana, Bella, and Wyatt as well as Nicole de Vera (his former spouse) stepchildren Taylor Raymond and Haylie Raymond as well as many friends and extended family members who will miss his father jokes and celebrity impersonations antics dearly.
Achievement and Honors
Schafer has earned many academic accolades, including the Norman Medal, Shortridge Hardesty Award, Huber Research Prize and Dunn Family Scholarship from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Additionally, he is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha: National Political Science Honor Society.
In 2022 he joined Melville House Publishing House of New York as co-editor of Fairy Tale Review, a literary journal that published original stories that have since been collected into anthologies and won her an award from Shirley Jackson Award Foundation.
Midwood and beyond remember him fondly for his selfless service to their community during the coronavirus pandemic, risking his own life to evacuate a train car during its evacuation process. Unfortunately, on Tuesday at 58 years of age he succumbed to it.
Schaeffer was an enthusiastic rail conductor, writer, historian, and preservationist with a deep love of trains and NYC transit. According to former Interim MTA President Sarah Feinberg, Schaeffer demonstrated what it meant to be a public servant most visibly by placing his life on the line while evacuating an unsafe train car in 2018.”
He was an active churchgoer and devout religious individual who never missed a Sabbath service, even campaigning hard for MTA employees to get time off for Rosh Hashanah in September 2019.
Schaeffer was known for his intellectual approach to apologetics as documented in his trilogy; yet what made him truly distinctive was how he applied those views in his daily life – most especially as seen through his approach to anthropology.
Schaeffer was dedicated to unifying people during his lifetime. He campaigned tirelessly against anti-Semitism and worked to build bridges between Jewish community members and those they had left behind, advocated for LGBTQ rights, championed subway service systems – recently making headlines when he quickly evacuated a subway car when someone spilled gasoline on its floor!
He was an integral member of South Brooklyn and actively volunteered in the 70th Precinct as an auxiliary police officer. Additionally, he owned several franchises in South Brooklyn such as Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning and Club Z tutoring.
Benjamin W. Schaeffer was honored for his dedication to his community by co-workers and local politicians alike when an entire section of East 15th Street was named Benjamin W. Schaeffer Way in his honor.