Ann Shafer was born on July 6, 1919. In 1946, she began working at cereal-maker W. K. Kellogg Company in Battle Creek, Michigan and served as an officer of Local 3 of the American Federation of Grainmillers. She retired in 1983. She has been active in the Michigan Democratic Party, was appointed to the Michigan Women's Commission from 1975 to 1977, and was first elected to the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners in 1978.
Throughout her career, Ms. Shafer has lobbied in support of women's issues, including equal pay, sex and employment discrimination, reproductive freedom, and pregnancy disability benefits. She co-founded the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek chapters of NOW and in 1974, became one of the founding members of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, taking over the vice-presidency of the Michigan region in 1975.