Henry Schaper sits on the WCU Board now, and he brings years of experience to the table. And I mean years.
His dad was a longtime member, as was his grandfather. In fact, you can trace the Schaper men being society members since 1926. While there’s a good chance his grandfather rode a horse to his branch meetings, Henry conducts a lot of his business on the internet highway.
But what hasn’t changed is the mission of Western Catholic Union. Today, Henry is proud of the charitable efforts of WCU, just like his father, and his father. “The volunteerism is very important as it gives the members a sense of belonging to an organization that helps make this world a better place to live,” Henry said.
And Henry’s world gets a little better every day. In the blink of an eye, Henry can break into one of his favorite card tricks. It’s difficult to determine who enjoys his tricks more; his audience, or Henry. Life is good when you can fool, surprise, confuse and amaze. “Magic brings out the kid in all, as it takes you away from the everyday cares for a few minutes,” Henry said. “During that time, all the troubles are gone, like when we were young and had no troubles.”
Henry’s gentle care for his children actually led him to magic. Nearly 70 years ago he noticed that his son didn’t stutter when he was around his uncle, Steve, who was an accomplished magician.
“Pick a card, any card….”
Henry wasn’t perfect in the beginning, but the results sure were. Whether it was the magic, or his son simply grew out of it, the stuttering problem disappeared. So Henry eventually packed up his bag of tricks and put them away. But in 1995, while down in his basement doing laundry, he noticed a mystery suitcase up on a shelf. Inside, he found all the magic tricks he had performed several decades before.
Henry’s life had taken him to the military, then for a lengthy career with Union Electric, but he had never lost his love for magic. Years later, down in his basement, Henry was excited about performing again. Now, he performs in his parish variety shows, or for anybody he might meet. You can see his act on www.youtube.com if you type in armyguy650 and look for “Magic By Henry II.”
For many St. Louis-area charities, Henry and Barb have been the “magic” for many fundraisers. Just like the reaction he sees after his performances, Henry gets great satisfaction from those he’s helped. “WCU’s charity work is still needed,” Henry said. “There are many people that need help. As long as we are able, this help will be greatly appreciated.”
“As long as one tries, he has life. Life ends when one quits trying.”