James Chaffin, 87, of Melbourne, passed away peacefully in the early morning of December 21st, 2013. He was born on March 29th, 1926 in Detroit, Michigan and moved to Orlando with his parents in 1929. He graduated from Orlando High School in 1943 and was drafted into the US Army in 1944. Assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division, he served in Europe until the war's end and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Upon being discharged in 1947, he enrolled at Tennessee Technological University in his parent's hometown of Cookeville, Tennessee where he met his future wife, Mary Huddleston, and graduated in 1950 with an accounting degree. He re-entered the Army soon thereafter and served in Frankfurt, Germany for three years with the Finance Corps. After returning to Orlando, he took a job with Pan American Airways in December 1954 at Patrick AFB and held various managerial roles in their Accounting Department on base and in Cocoa Beach until his retirement in 1987.
He and Mary were married on April 25th. 1960 and their son James Jr. was born the following March. Jim was a good son, husband and father, always doing what was best to support his family. He was fortunate enough to travel extensively and kept great memories of the beautiful scenery and great cities of the U.S. and Europe. His other pastimes included reading, music, movies, gardening, crosswords and sports. He had a great passion for baseball and was a fan of the Detroit Tigers since childhood. He attended games at several major and minor league ball parks across the country and in recent years enjoyed numerous outings to Space Coast Stadium with his son.
Soon after retiring, Jim offered his services to the still-under-construction King Center for the Performing Arts and volunteered there for over 25 years. He contributed hundreds of hours of service assisting patrons as an usher, working in backstage security and also provided support to the Marketing Department and other areas of operation.
A man of quiet faith, he was a member of the Church of Christ. He was a loyal and generous friend, neighbor and co-worker who could always be counted on and will be fondly remembered as an uncle, brother-in-law and cousin by his extended family in Tennessee.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11AM, Saturday, January 4th at the King Center. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider donations to the King Center, (in Jim's memory for the Volunteer Corps), the William Childs Hospice House, the
. Thanks go out to the physicians and nurses at Health First and Holmes Regional who cared for him throughout his final years.
Published in FLORIDA TODAY on Dec. 29, 2013