Forrest E. Chaffee, age 86, of St. Peter, Minnesota, died peacefully on March 4th, 2019, at the Benedictine Living Community.
Forrest was born on April 23, 1932, in Amenia, North Dakota. His early school years were spent in Fargo, Seattle and Poulsbo, Washington. He graduated from Excelsior High School in Minnesota in 1950, where he was quarterback of the football team and valedictorian of his class. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1954. Forrest truly found a home on “the hill,” known as “Woody” to his dear friends, and participating in many activities, including the track team. In 1958 Forrest received his Baccalaureate of Divinity Degree from Augustana Theological Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois. He was ordained into ministry on June 22, 1958, in Jamestown, New York. He returned to Gustavus to teach Theology for two years as he began his ministry. He was awarded a Master’s Degree in Theology in 1972 from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.
Pastor Chaffee served parishes in New Prague, Olivia, Minneapolis and Stillwater, Minnesota and in Cedar Falls and Nevada, Iowa. Forrest loved preaching and ministering to his congregations and he certainly fulfilled his life’s ambition to spread the word of God. He counseled those in need and took great care in providing rich and meaningful sermons. During Lent, he often dressed in character, telling the Passion story from the disciple’s point of view. He had the amazing gift of using stories, illustrations, and humor to help his lucky parishioners learn and grow in their faith. The ministry was Forrest’s true calling and he considered himself a child of God.
He retired in 1996 but continued to serve many congregations as interim pastor and teacher. He published two books that grew out of his leadership of adult Bible studies, focused on the miracles of John’s gospel, and the study of Simon Peter.
Forrest was also an active sports enthusiast, both as a participant and loyal fan. He enjoyed playing handball, racquetball, and most of all golf, including two unforgettable holes in one. He loved the Minnesota Gophers, Twins and Vikings. Forrest spent his summer vacations on Ten Mile Lake in Hackensack, Minnesota, where he was known for getting up early, going into town for a newspaper and breakfast, spending his afternoons at Tianna Golf Course, and his evenings on the pontoon.
Forrest was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Sharon; half-sisters, Carolyn Chaffee and Doris Park. Forrest is survived by his wife Judy; son Jon (Tracy); daughter Kris; stepdaughter Heather (Mark); stepson Trip; grandchildren Sally, Will, Jake, Sara, Natalie, Raymond, Stuart, Quad, Kannon, Holly, and Kiera; and half-siblings John Chaffee, Judith Ojard, Barbara Chaffee and Marilyn Zornado.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am Saturday, April 6th at First Lutheran Church in St. Peter with a visitation at 10:00 am. In lieu of flowers, gifts in honor of Forrest can be made to Gustavus Adolphus College or First Lutheran Church, St. Peter.