Rupert “Rocky” Shaft

Age 65, of Holt, MI, passed away June 2, 2021. He was born August 23, 1955, in Lansing, MI, to the late F. Cassius and Margaret (Ruppert) Shaft.

Rocky was a 1973 graduate of Holt High School and received his Bachelor of Education from Western Michigan University in 1977. He was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa. He taught 1 year in Jackson then came to Holt and taught until 2017.

He was the Holt head wrestling coach for 41 years, amassing more than 600 wins, 34 district championships, 3 state titles, and multiple conference wins. He was nominated two times for the national coach of the year, and was inducted into the Michigan Wrestling Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

One of Rocky’s favorite things to do was chop wood at 5:00 a.m. He loved traveling and spending time with family. He will be deeply missed.

Rocky is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Elizabeth; children, Shanna Shaft, Heather (Sean) Hanton, and Kendra (Drew) Klier; grandchildren, Callen and Tavin Hanton, and Cecilia and Rupert Klier; sisters, Jacklyn Ribby, Suzanne (Larry) Leyrer, Kay (Larry) Cotton, Sally (Dean) Hartley, and Mona (Lou) Cognata; and many nieces, nephews and other extended family.

The funeral service will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at the Holt High School Gymnasium, 5885 W. Holt Rd.  Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the gym.  Please use the West Commons entrance. Interment will follow at East Lawn Memory Gardens, Okemos.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Holt Wrestling Club, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Holt, MI 48842. Arrangements are by the Estes-Leadley Holt/Delhi Chapel.

“The fun is in the memories.” – Rocky Shaft

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24 Messages to “Rupert “Rocky” Shaft

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Mitchell Dorin
June 2, 2021 at 8:56 pm

Mr.shaft I looked up to you highly threw school as my teacher and coach. You where such an amazing man with a huge heart. I enjoyed every time we where able to catch up when you where my customer at grand ledge ford. I will miss every second of it and you will dearly be missed by so many people you touched. May you Rest In Peace and to you Mrs.Shaft I’m so sorry for your loss of your beloved husband. Sending prayers and my condolences to you and your family.

Kathleen E Ball
June 2, 2021 at 9:37 pm

Prayers for the entire Shaft family on the loss of this dear man. Growing up with Rocky starting at Elliott and finishing at Holt High School, I knew him to be a kind, decent person, a good friend, a wonderful athlete and a devoted member of the Holt Community. We shared time in the choir and in the musicals and we were proud of his role as our Homecoming King…..and that was just the beginning of what was to be a gift to the Holt Community and to the many students whom he mentored. He will be missed and remembered….

Mjit RaindancerStahl
June 2, 2021 at 10:53 pm

May his memory being a blessing. Peace to those who loved him, especially my friend Shanna. I will always remember the love and pride in her voice when she spoke of him.

Mike Shaft
June 3, 2021 at 8:40 am

He was a cousin, friend and President of the Shaft Clan reunions for years. Rocky’s impact on the Holt community is remarkable. Prayers for Liz and his family. God’s blessings.

Molly Ann Cox
June 3, 2021 at 12:10 pm

Rocky always had a smile. Loved hanging around with you Rocky growing up. I will always remember that you made all of our activities, whether it was choir, games, homecoming, or just hanging around, more fun, more organized and more full of good choices. You were a good influence on everyone. God be with the Shaft family.

Dan S
June 3, 2021 at 3:08 pm

Mr. Shaft was my earth science teacher in 9th grade and I always looked forward to his class. I’m sad to hear this news, but I hope his family knows that as a teacher, he shaped the lives of so many children in such a positive way.

Lois Duling
June 3, 2021 at 4:25 pm

Liz, Shanna, Heather & Kendra, my heart is heavy hearing of Rocky’s passing. He was “rock” to the Holt Community & he inspired both leadership & guidance to all that were honored to know him. He was a man that all men should follow in his footsteps. I pray that all of you find peace inspite of this untimely loss.

Donald Rinehart
June 3, 2021 at 7:52 pm

I was really shocked to hear the news of the passing of a fellow coach. Holy and Rockford have had some historic battles over the years. He will be missed by the wrestling families across the state. My condolences to his wife, family and the Holt community.

Sincerely, Coach Rinehart

Bill Moubray
June 3, 2021 at 9:01 pm

My heart is heavy for Rocky’s family. I can’t believe I’m writing this on your obituary Rocky. You were the Rock of this community. You will never be replaced. You helped me become a men. Some day we will meet again. RIP

Hope Nichols
June 4, 2021 at 1:13 am

Many wonderful memories from wrestling meets, invitationals, and parties from my time as the manger of the team. Thanks for helping me find my voice and for having confidence in my abilities. Truly a wonderful man. Strength to all of his family to find peace with his passing. We will miss you Rocky.

Sandy Schutte
June 4, 2021 at 7:44 am

Rocky made such a difference in our family’s lives. He was loved and respected by all. He will be greatly missed and remembered for many years to come. He was a true GIANT in the Holt community. My prayers and love for his family.

Brad McKouen
June 4, 2021 at 9:03 am

A giant of a presence, great teacher and coach. Holt will always be your town Rocky.

Omar Hernandez
June 4, 2021 at 10:53 am

A true legend, great coach and mentor for many. My condolences to the Shaft family. You will be missed forever and always. The beautiful moments you shared with us will always speak of a great person that you were. Rest in peace coach!

Ronnie Becker
June 4, 2021 at 1:41 pm

we had some great battles over the years. Rocky was a great coach but more importantly he was a great mentor to all those he thought in the class room and on the mat. He will be greatly missed among the coaching ranks and as a friend but never forgotten

John Thon
June 4, 2021 at 2:47 pm

I had the honor of working in the same department with Rocky for almost half my career. He taught my son, and anchored the transition of a professional development school with clarity and common sense. My symptoms to his wonderful family. Holt has lost an icon who epitomized dedicated and held himself and others to the highest standards. We are truly fortunate to have shared time, if only for a moment. Blessings and peace old friend.

JJ Duling
June 4, 2021 at 5:07 pm

Since ‘back in the day’, aways cool, aways real, aways Holt’s…Rock. Godspeed to the entire Shaft family and RIP, sir.

Edward Wedley
June 4, 2021 at 5:27 pm

Rocky and I go all the way back from playing baseball all over the neighborhood to all the other activities we did as youth…we were teammates adversaries when my coachimg career started at Lansing Waverly and he was Head Coach at Holt..when I left town I continued to follow his career and legacy..his name is known in NC and SC because I have been bragging about my friend in Mich. and his incredible accomplishments as a coach and mentor…much respect well lived.

Susan Holben
June 4, 2021 at 11:05 pm

Rest in peace my friend. So many childhood memories have come to mind while remembering our childhood and teen years in the neighborhood. Class of ‘73. You were a rare gem, always so kind, welcoming, sincere and fun. Heartfelt thoughts go to your family and extended family. I deeply share your loss.

Judy Lenon
June 5, 2021 at 9:04 am

What an awesome presence Rocky was in the lives of so many, reaching far beyond the Holt community. His ability to connect with family’s, including two generations of my family, community and his athletes with love and compassion and support will never be forgotten. My love and prayers to his family for comfort and strength. I will miss you Rocky.

Karin Raymond
June 5, 2021 at 9:40 am

Liz, Heather, Shanna and Kenny I’m so sorry for your loss. What an amazing legacy Rocky has left behind. I personally will miss hearing “hey kid” and his way of always making me feel welcome. From the time the boys were naked in their diapers running through your house to the time they graduated and on, your family has been our family. Take care of yourselves and remember “the fun is in the memories”! RIP Rock

Tom Shaver
June 5, 2021 at 10:06 am

Coach – I just want to thank you for all the life lessons and words of wisdom you provided all of us along the way. You were a great coach but an even better role model and mentor for what a man really is. Like you always said, “The fun is in the memory”. You’ll be missed by many and I hope your family finds peace in knowing the positive impact you’ve made on so many lives. Thanks for the memories Rock!! RIP

Tom Shaver II
June 5, 2021 at 5:53 pm

Rock, in your time of mentoring thousands of young men and women, you taught every example through your own actions. Leaving out your own athletic and coaching accolades, you are still the most accomplished man I know. You have been a great father, trustworthy friend, loving husband, devoted teacher, and no one has done it better!

Renee Archer-Hawken
June 6, 2021 at 8:48 pm

Liz, I am so sorry to hear of Rocky’s passing. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Shelly Chappuies
June 10, 2021 at 4:28 pm


My heart goes out to you. You are in my prayers.

Shelly Chappuies


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