Mourning the death of Barbara Hunter Chaffee, MD distinguished citizen and devoted member of her community

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  • 11 / Apr / 2013
  • 17 / Apr / 2013
  • 17 / Apr / 2013

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative



LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION mourning the death of Barbara Hunter Chaffee, MD,
distinguished citizen and devoted member of her community

WHEREAS, It is the custom of this Legislative Body to pay tribute to
citizens of the State of New York whose lifework and civic endeavor
served to enhance the quality of life in their communities and the great
State of New York; and
WHEREAS, Barbara Hunter Chaffee, MD of Binghamton, New York, died on
March 5, 2013, at the age of 63; and
WHEREAS, Born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Barbara Hunter Chaffee
attended the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore College, and the
University of Illinois Medical School in Chicago, where she received
both her M.D. and M.P.H. degrees; and
WHEREAS, Barbara Hunter Chaffee distinguished herself in her profes-
sion and by her sincere dedication and substantial contribution to the
welfare of her community; and
WHEREAS, As a physician practicing first in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania,
and then in Binghamton, Barbara Hunter Chaffee's overriding concern was
to provide care for the needy, especially those suffering from
addictions or from HIV and AIDS; and
WHEREAS, When AIDS first surfaced, hospitals and doctors were fearful
to be known as care providers for people with HIV; Barbara Hunter Chaf-
fee was not one of those doctors; she became one of the first physicians
in the Southern Tier to treat people with the virus; and
WHEREAS, Some of her patients she helped to keep healthy for decades;
others she shepherded through their final days, driven by a deep
compassion, a refusal to judge and a desire to provide care to people
others shunned; subsequently, a fund has been established in her name
with the hopes of inspiring others to follow in her footsteps; and
WHEREAS, The Barbara H. Chaffee, MD, MPH Educational Fund was created
in January of 2010 to help health professionals develop knowledge and
expertise in the field of HIV/AIDS, and to pay tribute to a remarkable
woman whose caring has touched the lives of hundreds of people in
upstate New York; and
WHEREAS, When the fund was created, Barbara Hunter Chaffee insisted on
including the clause: if HIV should ever be cured, the fund would go on,
educating health care providers on other public health issues; and
WHEREAS, After serving as a physician for the National Health Service
Corps in Susquehanna, she worked as Medical Director, Alcoholism
Services, United Health Services, then for the Broome County Health
Service in various capacities, including Medical Director, and from 1990
until her retirement in 2010 as Medical Director of Binghamton Family
Care Center Internal Medicine Office at UHS and Medical Director of its
HIV Team; and
WHEREAS, Throughout this time, Barbara Hunter Chaffee was also on the
faculty of the UHS Residency Program; her work with HIV/AIDS patients
began in the 1980s, when she was one of the only physicians in the area
willing to treat them, and continued through the rest of her career;
furthermore, she was active on HIV-related committees and organizations
at the local, state and national levels; and
WHEREAS, Even after her retirement, the practice Barbara Hunter Chaf-
fee established continues to grow today, with 320 current patients; and
WHEREAS, Barbara Hunter Chaffee's commitment to excellence, and her
spirit of humanity, carried over into all fields of enterprise, includ-
ing charitable and civic endeavors; and
WHEREAS, Barbara Hunter Chaffee was a long-time member of Trinity
Memorial Church in Binghamton, New York, where she was an enthusiastic

choir member, lay preacher, and most recently, member of the Vestry; she
was also active in Episcopal Diocesan activities, including six years of
service on the Standing Committee; and
WHEREAS, For a number of years, Barbara Hunter Chaffee sang in the
Madrigal Choir of Binghamton; and
WHEREAS, In recognition of her wide-ranging activities, she was the
recipient of over 15 honors and awards, among which were the Baldwin
School Alumnae Award; Linda Laubenstein Award from the New York State
AIDS Institute; Phoenix Award of the Citizen Action Program; President's
Award for Excellence in Teaching at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse;
STAP Legacy Award; and the Outstanding Service Award for exceptional
accomplishments in HIV/AIDS service delivery from The New York State
Department of Health; and
WHEREAS, This remarkable woman greatly enjoyed music, the outdoors,
hiking and kayaking, and summer weeks in the Adirondacks with her
extended family; and
WHEREAS, Barbara Hunter Chaffee is survived by her husband, John; her
sons, Timothy, Philip, and Conrad; Conrad's wife, Luba and their sons
Caleb, Gideon and Joshua; her mother and father, Helen and Holland Hunt-
er; her sisters, Ann Hunter, Christine Hunter and her husband, Louis
Venech and their sons, Peter Lewis, Jonathan Venech and Gregory Venech;
her brother, Timothy Hunter and his wife, Anne and their daughters,
Frances and Nellie; and her brother- and sister-in-law, Paul and Jan
Chaffee and his son, Jove Oliver; as well as another sister-in-law, Mary
Chaffee; and
WHEREAS, Armed with a humanistic spirit and imbued with a sense of
compassion, Barbara Hunter Chaffee leaves behind a legacy which will
long endure the passage of time and will remain as a comforting memory
to all she served and befriended; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
mourn the death of Barbara Hunter Chaffee, MD, distinguished citizen and
devoted member of her community; and be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the family of Barbara Hunter Chaffee.


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