Deacon Harley Chaffee, 84, dies; served St. Malachy Parish in Geneseo for 37 years

Deacon Harley Chaffee

GENESEO — A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at St. Malachy Church here for Deacon Harley Chaffee, who served as a permanent deacon at the parish for 37 years.

Deacon Chaffee died on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. He was 84.

Father Daniel Gifford will be principal celebrant of the funeral Mass, with burial to follow at North Cemetery in Geneseo.

Visitation is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1, at Vandemore Funeral Homes and Crematory — Geneseo Chapel. The rosary will be recited at 7 p.m.

Born March 27, 1937, in Santa Barbara, California, to John and Ethel (Stahl) Chaffee, he was a 1955 graduate of Geneseo High School and later served in the United States Navy.

He went to barber college, enjoyed welding, and owned and operated Harley’s Wooden Nickel Dry Cleaners for several years.

He married Mary Richter on March 30, 1959, at St. Malachy Church. Together they raised five daughters.

He was a member of the Diocese of Peoria’s third class of permanent deacons and was ordained on May 21, 1983, by Bishop Edward W. O’Rourke at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. He served at St. Malachy Parish until his transition to senior status in 2020.

Deacon Chaffee is survived by his wife, Mary; daughters, Brenda (Rod) Chaffee-Pullman, Sue (Mike) Ford, Cindy (Joe) Panicucci, Jody (Harvey) Chaffee-Morton, and Denise (Chris) Welch, all of Geneseo; 16 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; a brother, John Allen Chaffee; and a sister, Delores Holliday.

Memorials may be directed to St. Malachy Church and Hillcrest Home Activity Fund.

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