Ronald Arthur Chafe (“Knute”), 73, was a warm, party-loving Irishman with a short fuse and an enormous heart. He was born on May 2nd, 1948 in Greenwich, CT to an Irish mother and a Newfie father, making him a first generation American. He was a loving son, a little bit of a hellion, a decent high school football player and was an altar boy for a period (if you can believe it).
Following high school, Ron enlisted in The United States Army where he trained as a large vehicle driver before being deployed to Vietnam, bravely completing 2 tours of duty. He sometimes referred to his time overseas as both the best and worst time of his life; he was witness to the worst aspects of war but also enjoyed himself every chance he could because “it might be your last party”.
After finishing his active duty in December of 1969, he took his father’s advice and was hired at Southern New England Telephone (later known as AT&T). He worked all over CT and made some of his best friends during his years with the phone company. He had countless stories about his antics with his coworkers, some of which he couldn’t tell his boss until after he retired. In 2012, he was offered the golden handshake and happily retired after 42 years.
Ron’s favorite things in life were (not limited to and in no particular order) having cocktails with friends, reading, music, dogs, telling and hearing good jokes, houseboats and war/police-based movies. He was always supportive of his son’s endeavors whether that involved sitting for hours in the freezing cold for marching band competitions, hauling live sound equipment to bars or just being a wise sounding board during life’s challenges. Ron always fostered a strong work ethic in his son and others, usually through his own 4 decade long career, but sometimes by picking the hottest day in August to complete an outside home project (“I swear it’ll only take an hour”).
For 20+ years he and his wife hosted friends nearly every Thursday evening at their home in Cheshire, CT. This was an open invite to stop by for a drink and over the years came to be known as Geezerfest, although people of all ages were welcome. Ron always held court at Geezerfest, and the tradition will continue in his honor.
Ron passed away peacefully at home on July 10th, 2021 due to complications from soft tissue sarcoma, a disease linked to his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. His wife and son were at his side and his favorite blues song was playing. He is survived by his wife, Robin, his son, Casey, cousins far and wide, countless friends and Eric Hyland, whom he loved like a son.
Anyone who knows Ron can rest assured he is at the bar with a Fleischmann’s and club soda with loved ones, surrounded by all his past dogs and the night is young.