“Hartford, Conn. — After a long and spirited battle with prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease, Jack died peacefully at home on Sept. 18, 2014 surrounded by a continuing stream of family and friends, comforted by the music and companionship he so adored. He never complained about his fate. His strong will to live, sense of humor, and generosity of spirit gave him incredible strength throughout his final journey.
Jack was born in Baltimore, Md. on July 20,1942, son of Dr. Paul Oakes Chatfield and Helen Taylor Chatfield. He graduated from Randolph Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va. in 1960 and from Trinity College in 1964. It was during his freshman year that his attention became riveted on the growing black student movement in the South. He became increasingly absorbed through news reports, speakers, and conversations with fellow students and when he learned that Trinity friend Ralph Allen had joined the movement and was badly beaten in Dawson, Ga., he left immediately for southwest Georgia. On his first night in Dawson he was injured by shotgun blasts fired by night riders into the house where he was staying. Jack’s involvement in the civil rights movement was passionate, inspirational, and lifelong.
Jack received his M.A. and PhD from Columbia University. From 1970-1978 he taught at the Watkinson School in West Hartford, Conn. In 1987 he began his teaching career at Trinity College which spanned 25 years until his retirement in 2012. Highlights at Trinity include the Hughes Award for Teaching Achievement in 1992, The Brownell Prize for Teaching Excellence in 2002 and organization of the SNCC conference – “We Shall Not Be Moved – The Life and Times of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee” in 1988, the first major reunion of SNCC members since the group disbanded in the 1960’s.
Jack leaves his wife of 45 years, Barbara; son, Jonathan of West Hartford; daughter and son in law Julia and Nir Levy of West Granby; grandchildren Zoe and Anya Chatfield and Mason Levy; his sister Lora from Bradford, VT who has been present for weeks providing priceless nursing and moral support; brother in law Alan Schneider in San Francisco Calif. and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Special thanks to VNA HealthCare and Jack’s wonderful hospice team.
Jack’s body will be donated for research and his ashes buried at Trinity. There will be a Celebration of Jack’s life at Trinity in the next few weeks. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Watkinson School or the Professor John H. Chatfield ’64 Scholarship Fund at Trinity College.”