A Remarkable Legacy: Robert and Virginia Shaffer

Archival photo of Robert and Virginia Shaffer at home

Robert N. Shaffer, MD founded Glaucoma Research Foundation in 1978. He was a pioneer in the field of glaucoma and an outstanding teacher and mentor to young doctors. His proudest professional accomplishment was the establishment of the annual Shaffer Fellowship and more than 40 doctors received personal and skillful training with Dr. Shaffer during his career.

Always at his side was his wife Virginia. The two childhood sweethearts were married 68 years before Dr. Shaffer passed away in 2007. With Virginia’s background in English, speech and drama, she taught public speaking to ophthalmologists at the University of California San Francisco Medical School and helped Dr. Shaffer’s fellows with their presentations. In addition, she and Dr. Shaffer hosted the doctors into their family’s warm and friendly home.

In December of 2016, Virginia passed away after a long and healthy life at the age of 103.

Earlier this year, Glaucoma Research Foundation received a generous contribution from the Robert and Virginia Shaffer Revocable Trust.

Thomas Brunner, President and CEO of Glaucoma Research Foundation noted: “We were incredibly honored that Virginia included us in her estate plans. Both she and Bob were such wonderful and generous supporters from the very beginning.” Mr. Brunner added, “They were leading donors of our very first fundraising campaign and are now lead donors of the largest campaign in our history, The Cure is in Sight.”

Virginia and Dr. Robert Shaffer leave behind a remarkable legacy through their generous philanthropic support to Glaucoma Research Foundation and lifelong dedication to teaching and nurturing the next generation of glaucoma specialists.


Including us in your will or trust is a simple way to provide future support of our innovative research and education programs.

First published on January 1, 2018; Reviewed on May 19, 2022