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Robert Lee Chaffin (he’d politely ask you to call him “Bob”), age 98, passed away May 16, 2022, in Waseca Area Memorial Hospital after a great life and a brief illness.
Bob was born to Thomas Benton Chaffin and Jessie Stratten Chaffin on February 13, 1924. He was raised with his three brothers in the small, southern town of Ozark, Missouri. He played various high school sports, but basketball was his love.
Bob graduated during World War II, entered the military, and hoped to join his older brothers in battle as a Navy pilot, but he was selected for officer training and college education. He chuckled when he spoke of playing on Utah College’s basketball team alongside Bob Barker, he was proud to have lettered in the high jump, and he loved to tell the story of his Navy buddies painting the college emblem Navy blue on graduation eve.
Bob earned his master’s degree at the University of Missouri and became a high school teacher and basketball coach in Forsythe and then Rolla. Coaching was the highlight of his life until he met Lois Johnson, a physical education teacher originally from Waseca. Bob and Lois were married at the First Congregational Church in Waseca on December 23, 1950, and, not surprisingly, spent their honeymoon at the Missouri state basketball tournament (Lois was a good sport).
Bob and Lois spent several happy years in Missouri, where they made life-long friends, before moving to Waseca with the hope of starting a family. Bob took employment at the E. F. Johnson Company as personnel manager and later became a vice president. Bob and Lois had two children, Candy Chaffin Rinowski of Bloomington, Minnesota and Nancy Elizabeth Russell, a resident of Waseca.
In addition to his work at EFJ, Bob served on many boards, was involved in local charities, and continued his love of recreation and sports, playing tennis and golf; boating; coaching his daughter’s softball team (he could tell you stories!); RVing to Florida; attending Vikings games with Lois in subzero snowstorms; cheering on his beloved St. Louis Cardinals; and rooting for the Waseca Bluejays.
Bob and Lois had been married 70 years when she passed away last fall. He loved her with all his heart and often spoke of going home to her.
Bob was a kind and generous man. He was a loyal friend and a loving, albeit overprotective, father. When in his 90’s, he still asked his loved ones to call when they got home safe and sound even if they lived just across the street.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Lois, and their daughter, Candy; his parents Tom and Jessie Chaffin, his brothers Maurice, James, and Joe Donald Chaffin; and his granddaughter Carlee Russell. He is survived by his daughter Nancy; son-in-law Joseph Rinowski of Bloomington; eight grandchildren and their significant others, Molly and Andrew Olsen, Whitney Rinowski and her fiancé Bryan Pierick, Marissa and Nicholas Beauchamp, Abby Rinowski and her fiancé Nik Randall, Danny and Johanna Russell, Alex and Sandra Russell, Anastasia Russell, and Tatiana Russell; and three great-grandchildren, Zoey and Delaney Olsen, and Clara Russell.
The family is grateful for the outpouring of kindness that has been shown to them during this time. They will be holding an open house in Bob’s memory on Sunday, June 12th from 4 to 8 pm at daughter Nancy’s home at 825 6th Ave NE. All friends and family are welcome to attend.
Sunday, June 12, 2022
4:00 - 8:00pm (Central time)
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