Return to story
Clarence L. Chaffee Sr., 83, businessman, family man, racehorse breeder, and longtime resident of Hartwood, died at Mary Washington Hospital on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012.
Chaffee, the son of Earl and Erma Chaffee, was born in Ithaca, N.Y., on Aug. 4, 1929.
A carpenter in his early years, Mr. Chaffee became a restauranteur in the 1960s when he and his wife, Helen Yianilos Chaffee, started, owned and operated the Chaffee Chocolate Shop in Cortland, N.Y. In 1969, Mr. Chaffee moved his family to Virginia, where he became a principal owner of Ranch House Restaurants, a small chain of family-style restaurants in Virginia and Maryland.
A lifelong horse racing fan, Mr. Chaffee had owned and raced horses since the 1970s. He fulfilled a lifelong dream in the 1980s when he entered the standardbred horse breeding business. He and his wife bought a horse farm in Hartwood and, under the moniker of "Shadow Acres," bred and raised horses which they largely raced themselves for more than 20 years.
In addition to his beloved wife, Helen, Mr. Chaffee is survived by a sister, Deborah Chaffee; his daughters, Susan Chaffee and Sandra Persons (James); his sons, Clarence "Buck" Chaffee (Judith) and Anthony "Tony" Chaffee and his fiancee, Barbara Butterfield; 11 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Mr. Chaffee was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Earl Jr.; and two sisters, Winifred Knapp and Katherine Butts.
A funeral will be held at noon Friday, Nov. 16, at Laurel Hill Memorial Park, Spotsylvania, with viewing at 11 a.m. Interment will be in Laurel Hill Memorial Park.
Online condolences may be made at laurelhillfuneral home.com.