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Richard G. Chaffee, served with Navy Seabees in World War II

Aug. 16, 1921 – July 10, 2016

Richard G. Chaffee, who served in the Navy with the Seabees during World War II, died July 10 at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a brief illness. He was 94.

Born in Buffalo, he graduated from high school and went on to join the Navy, where he served as a petty officer first class.

After the leaving the Navy, he began working as a heavy equipment operator, helping to build the Scajaquada Expressway, the Southern Tier Expressway and the subway section of the Buffalo Metro Rail system. He was a member of Local 17, International Union of Operating Engineers, serving as a business agent.

He also was a member of the Warsaw Vets Club, as well as the American Legion, and he never lost touch with the veterans he served with, attending every Seabees reunion across the country. He also facilitated the Seabees reunion in Buffalo.

After retiring in 1983, he wintered in Florida, where he enjoyed landscaping and gardening. He also loved to travel throughout the country, and rooted for Buffalo sports teams and the Boston Red Sox. In retirement, he received a real estate license from the University at Buffalo.

His first wife, the former Phyllis Lester, died in 1975.

He is survived by his wife of 32 years, the former Meriel Smith Ewers; three daughters, Barbara, Linda Hilburger and Laura Hodas; three sons, David, Roger and John; nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A private service will be held.

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