Long Beach Island, NJ — Ron Chaffee was well known as a pillar in the area business and service community and termed a “legend” in the auctioneering industry. The long-serving member of the Beach Haven Exchange Club was a former district president at the national level. Others following his death Dec. 17 are mourning the loss of an affable coffee shop friend always ready to share a good story and a laugh.
Ronald Bliss Chaffee, 77, of High Bar Harbor was a patient at Lankenau Heart Institute in Wynnewood, Pa., when he died.
Besides being a broker-associate/Realtor for Oceanside Realty in Harvey Cedars, Chaffee was an owner, dean emeritus and instructor for Reppert School of Auctioneering in Auburn, Ind.
The school wrote last week, “We have lost a legend, a teacher and a friend. Ron has been part of the Reppert family for nearly 80 years and gave so much to Reppert, the auction profession, and each and every one of us that has gone through the school over the years. He will be greatly missed.”
The term of nearly 80 years, all of Chaffee’s life, was no exaggeration. A protégé under his father Quentin, of bid calling and auction commerce, Chaffee was licensed at the age of 9. He was considered the youngest auctioneer in the U.S. and Canada for many years.
Students wrote in tribute that they are saddened by the loss of a kind and knowledgeable mentor. Beyond that, one student captured Chaffee’s zeal with the comment “You had a story for every situation, a great heart, and an awesome life lived out!”
His legacy of service includes active membership at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Brant Beach, where on Jan. 4 a celebration was held of his life devoted to his family and the communities in which he lived and worked.
Chaffee was a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Boscomontico, Italy for three years. A native of Towanda, Pa., he graduated from West Chester State University and taught middle school youth at West Chester Area School District early in his career.
He was a collector of antique car memorabilia and an avid enthusiast of motors or mechanical devices of all kinds. But mostly, as was noted at his Jan. 4 service, he “loved people.”