Boise - Richard Paul Chaffee Jr. was born in Oregon City, Oregon on May 23, 1949 and died March 15, 2021 at his home in Boise Idaho, shortly after a diagnosis of esophageal cancer. There was just enough time for the family to gather, reminisce and say good-bye. Rick was the oldest child born to Richard Paul Chaffee and Ethlyn Vera Fish Chaffee. Duane was born two years later and Val (Valerie) three years after Duane. The family lived in several towns in Northern California as his father followed the timber industry, finally settling in Rio Dell. Rick started school in Weott finished elementary school in Rio Dell and graduated from Fortuna High School. He went to Boise Bible College and (before the internet) correspondence courses from Ozark Christian College and several classes at College of the Redwoods.
Rick's first job was pulling green chain at Eel River Sawmill. He continued to work in lumber jobs at Boise Cascade, Hoff Lumber, Pacific Lumber, Producers Lumber, Hodge Lumber and finally with his brother and dad at Chaffee Brother's Lumber Co. Between all the mill jobs Rick tried many things like washing dishes at The Mode, a paperback book store, raising rabbits, clerking at The Wild Hare bookstore, selling books by mail order and finally having his own used book store, Broadway Books.
Rick served as minister at Rio Dell Church of Christ for several years and was a life long Bible scholar. He studied hard each week so Mr. Beckman couldn't stump him in class at Eagle Christian Church. Ten years ago Rick had a massive stroke and could no longer study. After the stroke, Mr. Beckman told the class "If Rick could talk he'd probably know the answer." And he would have!
Rick and Suzy (Susan Marie Bird) celebrated their 50 year wedding anniversary in 2019 at the 18th and Eastman church building where they got married. Nice timing because now the church building is a private home.
Rick was the father of Sean and Alecia Chaffee, Samantha and Doug Fleenor and Stacey and Isaac Morris. He was the doting grandfather of Jordan Gossard, Ben and Riley Chaffee, Ethan Cooper and Abby Fleenor, and the miracle baby Addie Morris. Rick was especially glad to attend the weddings that added three bonus grandkids to the family. Aaron Gossard and Grace Reed Chaffee in Missouri and Paige Szathmary Cooper in Boise. Rick loved his grandkids even though he was fond of scaring them with jokes about losing the brakes on Lombard Street, wondering about planes crashing, or overhead trams falling into lion enclosures (where the lions looked dead). His grandkids always thought he was a great grandfather even though he died before he got great grand kids.
Rick was preceded in death by his father and will be inurned with him in the cemetery in Fortuna, California. He is survived by his wife, his children and grandchildren, his mother, his siblings and numerous in-laws, nieces, nephews and cousins. He will be greatly missed but we know he can walk and talk again and there's no pain or suffering in heaven. For Rick truly loved Jesus and knew him as his Lord and Savior.
A Celebration of Life will take place at Eagle Christian Church, Admin Meeting Room, on May 13th at 4 pm. Rejoice for another Christian has found his forever home.
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Published by Idaho Press Tribune from May 11 to May 12, 2021.