Jerry J. Chaffin left this world on the morning of February 28, 2020 at the age of 94 after a very brief stay at Hospice House in Durango, Colorado. Jerry was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Dorothy Hayes Chaffin; his parents, William and Emma Chaffin; his brothers and their wives Victor and Elsie Chaffin, William and Lee Chaffin, and Richard and Polly Chaffin, as well as several dear nieces and nephews. He is survived by his only child, daughter Katherine L. Chaffin and her partner, Art Ewing of Yellow Jacket, Colorado, and a few special extended family members.
Jerry was born in Stasburg, Colorado on December 4, 1925 after his parents had "blown out" from the early dust bowls in Kansas. When Jerry was two years old, his family relocated across the state settling in Yellow Jacket, Colorado where Jerry made his home for the next 92 years. After his father's early death, Jerry's young life was dedicated to helping his mother and brothers survive on their dry land farms. He graduated from the 8th grade having attended the one-room schoolhouse in Yellow Jacket to which he walked or rode a horse to reach. For recreation, he walked many miles exploring Yellow Jacket Canyon with its numerous ruin sites. He joined the United States Army at age 18 and honorably served his country during World War II.
Upon his return from the Service, he picked back up the family business of farming. Jerry was known throughout the County for his straight pinto bean rows and excellence in farming. Jerry was naturally athletic and excelled on the local baseball team as pitcher. Throughout his life, he also enjoyed rock hunting, playing pool, horseshoes and poker. He was a member of the Elks Club and the American Legion.
He met his future wife, Dorothy Hayes on a blind date in Mancos. They were very happily married for nearly 71 years. Jerry was an avid gardener and took both pride and enjoyment in building and keeping the family home well-tended.
In the 70's, Jerry took up silversmithing to complement his existing rock cutting skills. He became a very fine jeweler working primarily in silver with stones such as dinosaur bone, turquoise, coral, gold ore and other semi-precious gems. He enjoyed selling and trading jewelry and rocks throughout the Four Corners.
Most of all, he loved his wife and daughter. A finer husband and father could not be found. He is deeply loved and sorely missed.
A brief memorial service will be held for both Dorothy H. Chaffin and Jerry J. Chaffin on Saturday, June 6 at 11:30 a.m. at the Fairview Cemetery in Yellow Jacket, Colorado. A meal with a celebration of two lives well-lived will follow at the home of Katherine Chaffin also in Yellow Jacket.
Published in The Journal on Mar. 20, 2020.