Martin Luther King, Jr once said, “Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
Herb Chaffey lived his life serving and impacting others. His professional life as a successful business owner mirrored his philosophy in building young men through athletics. Just like a high-quality Chaffey home, the Chaffey Baseball program built upstanding young men with a solid foundation of hard work, an inside shaped by strong character, and an exterior built to last. Herb and Coach Stewart emphasized excellence in academics and citizenship as much as excelling on the diamond.
Herb was an influential mentor in my life and I am forever grateful to be part of the Chaffey family.
Herb will truly be missed, but his legacy of service and love will live forever.
Colin Henderson, Chaffey Alumni
The impact of men like Herb Chaffey cannot be measured in any numerical way that does it justice.
More simply but profoundly, that impact is felt through the opportunity he provided for young men to grow, learn, fail, succeed and in turn become great fathers, husbands, coaches, and mentors in their own right. He set the bar high for the players that came through the program as athletes and as students and members of the community. He expected a lot against those principles he himself held in high regard.
A thank you may not be near enough, but the depth of that appreciation for what you provided and what you pushed for hopefully is.
Kurt Steck, Chaffey Alumni
Published in The Seattle Times from May 29 to June 5, 2016 – Herb passed away at home May 18, 2016 in Medina at the age of 79. Born July 26, 1936 in Hoquiam, Washington, Herb was the second of three boys in his family. He spent his youth working in the logging industry and upon graduation from Weatherwax High School, he went to Washington State University on a football scholarship. Uncertain about what field he wanted to pursue, he left college and served in the US Navy. He later transferred to the University of Washington where he became a member of the Theta Chi fraternity. He graduated in 1961 with a degree in accounting. After working in the accounting field for a few years, he realized he was more entrepreneur than accountant and in 1963 he partnered with Don Wick to begin building homes under the name, Wick Homes, Inc. A short while later, he purchased Wick’s interest in the company and, in the 52 years since, built over 13,000 homes in King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap Counties, as well as in Canada. Twenty of those years were spent mentoring and working together with his children in the family business, Chaffey Homes, Inc. Herb loved the smell of fresh cut lumber and walking the houses as they were in various stages of production. He expected excellence and it showed in the houses he built.
Herb built a legacy under the name Chaffey, not only in the home building arena, but also in the area of youth baseball. The Chaffey Baseball team, a group of talented 15-18 year old boys, has been a perennial select baseball power in the Pacific Northwest for over 35 years. Most of the students involved in the program go on to play Division I baseball in college and some have continued on to the major leagues. Herb spent countless hours with these young men, encouraging them to grow, learn and succeed, not only in the sport he loved so much, but also in their education and career pursuits.
Herb’s love of the University of Washington Huskies, combined with his love of baseball, resulted in his desire to see the UW build a first class baseball stadium. That dream was realized in 2009, when the University of Washington dedicated and named the baseball field “Chaffey Field” in appreciation of his generosity and support.
In both his work and his personal life, Herb set the bar high. He believed that reputation was everything and he taught others to “go to work on your reputation every day”. He evoked a deep sense of respect and loyalty from those that knew him. He had a very generous heart, providing financial assistance to many individuals and organizations throughout his life’s journey. His generosity towards others was a constant, yet he never took credit for it.
Herb is survived by his beloved wife, Merry Michael Chaffey, his brother, Thomas Chaffey, his children, Susan Chaffey, Robert Chaffey (Jennifer), Rick Chaffey, his stepchildren, Melissa Glynn (Andrew) and James Krueger and seven grandchildren, Aaron and Abigail Stapleton, Isabella, Alexander, Sophia and Brooke Chaffey and Julia Glynn.
A celebration of his life will be held at the Don James Center, located on the north side of Husky Stadium, University of Washington, 3800 Montlake Boulevard, Seattle (206) 543-2210 on June 15, 2016 at 4:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Herb Chaffey Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Chaffey Baseball, PO Box 1415, North Bend, WA 98045, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Attn: Donations, PO Box 19023, Seattle, WA 98109-1023, or charities of your choice.
Words cannot express the importance Herb and the Chaffey organization had had on my life. His passing is a great loss to the northwest community as a whole, but his legacy will live on. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the Chaffey tradition and prepare me for life after baseball. Please keep me updated on memorial services and let me know if there is anything I can to do help the Chaffey family (personal and baseball) at this time.
Sayre Peralta, Chaffey Alumni
Very said to hear about the passing of Herb. He was a great man and a great inspiration. He loved the game of baseball, and gave many, many young men, such as myself, the opportunity to play for one of the top premier teams in the nation. He will be greatly missed. Herb, rest in peace, and know that your legacy will live on.
Greg, Janet & Anthony Drobnick, Chaffey Alumni
My first year with you the running joke was I wasn’t strong enough to pull a ball to the left side. When I returned for my 2nd year I developed my strength to prove to you that I actually had some pop in my swing and could drive the ball to the left side. I arrived that summer after losing every High School baseball game and your response to me opened my eyes. Success is what you make of it, you will lose more times than you will win, but when you win make it count, you have your whole life in front of you! You spoke life into me at that moment and I then realized we had a special relationship.
It was at 16 years old you embraced me as I was looking for an opportunity to expose my baseball talent with Chaffey Baseball Club. We laughed, we cried (or at least I did) and I relished every moment I had with you in Santa Rosa, Reno, San Diego, Yakima and even our time at Husky Ballpark, hearing about the stories from former players and your own childhood experience. You would tell me about the challenges you had as a young man that I would empathize with due to my own upbringing. You even attended the 1998 Washington State 4A State Basketball Championship Game, one that I played in. I can still hear you saying how proud you were of me and my accomplishment that evening.
10 years later, you shared in the vision of increasing access and opportunity for youth of color from inner-cities across the country to have the same exposure to the game, but more importantly, developing men of excellence.
In that conversation while at Hector’s, we both looked at each other with a confused face and responded shortly after with….how are we going to pull this off? It took faith for us to accomplish this feat and here we are today with a robust model that is exposing urban youth to a sport while building on their academic prowess and social well-being through our Moving Beyond 12 model.
Though we have known each other for 20+ years and spent countless lunches and phone conversations, my greatest moment I can ever share with you is the last three words I ever heard you speak…..”I love you!”
Herb, in case you didn’t hear me that beautiful Friday afternoon, I love you too!
Today I say THANK YOU! Thank you for being my Branch Rickey and taking a calculated risk on my athletic gifts and moral character. You taught me so much, you treated me like a son and now the collective impact of the legacy must continue to transform the lives of others through our foundation…
Bookie Gates, Chaffey Alumni
We are all so sorry and sad to hear the news. When I told Michael he said that is so sad and Matthew’s response was he was a cool guy. We are so honored we were able to meet him and spend some time with him. He left a great legacy and touched so many lives in such a positive way and will always be remember as a caring, giving and generous person. We have so much appreciation, respect and admiration for all he has done over the years. Please pass our condolences along to his family.
What a wonderful man. He will be deeply missed. What a legacy he has left for so many.
I am with Sue. A wonderful man, such a great legacy. He will be missed. Prayers to his family.
Prayers to the family.
Herb meant the world to our family.
Rob & Angie Rusch
Really sorry to hear this! Condolences to the family members and all his friends who admired him!
Such an amazing life he led always giving back. Thanks for the great memories you have given to so many families over the years! You will be missed. Thinking of you Jim and Ray at this difficult time. Rest in peace.
Rest in peace Mr. Chaffey.
Deepest sympathy to the whole Chaffey family……thanks for the legacy Herb.
My deepest sympathy to Chaffey family. God bless them, so sorry for the loss.
He was a great man who did a lot for baseball in the Seattle area! He will be missed. I will also miss his voice the most.
Pat Bailey, Oregon State University
He gave so much to the kids. He will be missed by so many. I will always be proud that I had a chance to be a part of it. We need more people like him
Dave Wainhouse, Alumni & Pitching Coach for Chaffey
He was a great man and helped a lot of us.
Matt Woodward, Alumni & San Francisco Giants
Sad for baseball – he and the organization did so much for the community. A great man indeed.
Donnie Harrell, Seattle University
He was a great person that did a tremendous amount for our community.
Kevin Ticen, Chaffey Coach
He was special to the program, a wonderful man, and supporter of youth. He was a great guy, I will remember him laughing with the players. We will all carry Herb around in many positive ways.
Herb has done so many good things for kids. He will be missed! He gave kids a chance to do something special with their life.
Marty Lees, Washington State University
So sorry. A wonderful man who made a significant mark on not only on our family, but so many other young men! Involved in baseball for all “the right reasons”.
Jerry Henderson – Columbia Basin River Dogs
Herb will be deeply missed. Herb and you have impacted so many lives in a positive way…including mine. His legacy of service, love, and generosity will never be forgotten.
Collin Henderson, Alumni
Very sad to hear. He was a very part of my time with Chaffey.
Jake Roes, Alumni
I’m sorry to hear about Herb, my thoughts and prayers are with him and family. He was so special to our program supporting the Chaffey players.
Pat Casey, Oregon State University
Every time I think about you, I smile.
I smile thinking of your laugh, which always makes me laugh.
I smile from your story-telling, which always has me on the edge of my seating, waiting for the punchline.
I smile in awe of your perspective, which is amazing, and wise, and thoughtful. I still remember the time when you finally “got in touch with your feelings.” It took me a few years, but I found mine as well. I thank you for that!!!
I smile when I picture the countless young men whose lives you changed. Your love of baseball and your passion for kids united in this beautiful learning experience that grown men still credit as a change agent in their lives.
I smile every time I see my own son wear the Chaffey jersey, a constant reminder of one of the strongest men I know.
I smile when I see your personal signature on the Ballpark field, knowing that your dream to give the Huskies a first class facility finally came true.
I smile when I think about your grandkids, knowing that they have amazing lives full of potential because of you.
I smile every day I walk into the office, knowing that a man named Herb supported a girl he liked to call “Pinkey Larue” to achieve her life-long dream, to lead the Huskies.
I smile because we finally gave you a kick ass football coach to bring your dawgs back to dominance!
I smile because you have made a true difference in my life and in Bill’s and I will forever be grateful for all that you have taught me.
Love you big guy!
Jen Cohen, Athletic Director UW
I feel so honored to have met him. What an incredible man and yes what a legacy. I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of his family at this difficult time.
Jenny Serres and family
I am so sorry to hear about Herb. He was a very important part of James Baseball and life plus the whole family. Will there be a service? Please let us know. Thanks!
He was an amazing man that impacted many lives including mine and my families. Thank you for all you have done for me in my life.
Billy Boyer, Chaffey Alumni
I heard he had battled it. I would like to pay my respects. Herb was such a big influences in so many lives (especially mine).
Mike Hass, Chaffey Alumni
Herb was such a good man and did so much for so many people in baseball including myself and my family.
Todd Lyden, Chaffey Alumni
I am so shaken by the news. I am alone in my car and I am literally flashing through all the amazing experiences put before me and a million other kids, to appreciate, relive, share for the rest of my life.
Brent Wingerson, Chaffey Alumni.
Sorry to hear the news for everyone around him. We owe him a lot. He is going to be missed.
Dylan Davis, Chaffey Alumni, San Francisco Giants
Can’t say enough what the Chaffey and Stewart family means to our family. Our heart and prayers are with you all.
Davis Olson, Alumni
I’m really sorry to hear about Herb he was an awesome guy. Whether he was heckling me in the dugout or saying hum babe throughout the game he made an impact on countless people.
Connor O’Brien, Alumni
Very sad to hear the news.
Jason Ellison, Chaffey Alumni, LA Angel’s