Dr. John Sheaffer, Jr. can trace the history of his family’s farm all the way to an indenture from William Penn’s nephew. Over the next 300 years, members of the Sheaffer family lived in the home, passing it from generation to generation. John and his wife, Sharon, purchased the home in 1965. In September 2020, when John and Sharon moved to Garden Spot Village, their son Aaron and his wife, Pammi, and their son, Enoch, became the next generations of Sheaffers to inhabit the family homestead.
John’s father, Dr. John Sheaffer, Sr., opened his dental practice in New Holland in 1940. After attending college and serving in the Vietnam War, John Jr. returned to New Holland to join the family dental practice. Today, John and Sharon’s daughter, Dr. Laura Harkin, continues the family practice. Their oldest son, John Christian, is also a dentist in his North Carolina community.
John and Sharon met while John attended dental school at the University of Pennsylvania. Sharon, who grew up in central New Jersey, attended Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. John’s sister, who knew Sharon through the 4-H Extension program, set them up on a blind date and the rest is history.
Education has been very important to the Sheaffers. “We have always said, the best thing you can do is give your children a good education,” Sharon says.
John served on the Conestoga Valley School Board while Sharon served on the Board of Trustees of the district’s Education Foundation. John also served on the board of the Spartan Education Foundation for Eastern Lancaster County School District. A lifelong learner, John continuously found new ways to better serve his patients.
John and Sharon happily served as a host family for various exchange students through the years. These temporary arrangements evolved into lifelong friendships and they have appreciated the opportunity to visit their former exchange students and their families in France, Denmark and Germany.
As a food stylist with an advertising agency, Sharon traveled around the country, working with food manufacturers. Her clients included McCormick, General Foods, Weaver Chicken, Furmano’s, Lucky Leaf, Cutco and more. In some cases, she was given a list of ingredients and asked to develop easy-to-use recipes for recipe books; in other cases, she represented the food manufacturer on radio interviews. In all cases, she made the clients and their food look good.
Sharon worked primarily out of a studio in Lebanon, but also commuted to New York City, Philadelphia and York. She often used their farmhouse kitchen to prep food and test recipes before photo shoots.
Sharon also served as a leader for the Lancaster County 4-H seamstresses for 20 years. She taught tailoring to 14 to 18-year-olds. Some of her favorite experiences were taking the young women and their mothers to G Street in Washington, D.C., to source fabric.
John and Sharon moved into their cottage at Garden Spot Village in late-September 2020. Moving to Garden Spot made sense to them. Because John had practiced dentistry in New Holland for his entire career, they were very familiar with the Victor Weaver family, who founded the community, and trusted the reputation of Garden Spot Village.
In addition, they have family and church friends at Garden Spot Village; the move was convenient and “just felt right.”