Lt. Col. Frank D. Chafey, USAF (Ret.) age 87 died April 8, 2019. Visitation will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Friday, April 12 at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road in Abilene. Graveside services, with full military honors, will be held on Saturday at 2:00 pm in Elmwood Memorial Park.
Frank was born January 6, 1932 in Lyons, Indiana to Frank A. and Laura (Sloop) Chafey. The family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana when he was a young boy. Frank graduated from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis and later graduated from Butler University. He was commissioned into the United States Air Force in 1954. While attending pilot training at Webb AFB in Big Spring, Texas, Frank met his future wife of 63 years, Lila Turner. They were married in Big Spring on March 3, 1956.
Frank began his career as an Air Force officer and pilot in 1954 and retired in 1982. Most of his career he flew B-52 aircraft and it is thought that he retired with more hours in this aircraft than any other pilot. After retirement from the Air Force, he worked for American Eagle Airlines as a pilot with administrative duties for 10 years. He ended his flying career with over 10,000 hours of flying.
Command Pilot Lt. Col. Chafey was a veteran of the Vietnam War, having flown over 100 missions during this time and was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with one Oak Leaf cluster. He also received the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf clusters, the National Defense Service medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Air Force Longevity Service Award ribbon with five Oak Leaf clusters. He also received the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
Frank has been a member of the First Baptist Church in Abilene since 1975 and for 15 years, volunteered by driving a van for the children who attended "Big A" on Wednesday evenings.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife Lila Chafey of Abilene, his son Frank Richard Chafey of Abilene, his daughter Jeannene Young of Arlington, Texas. Three grandchildren, Courtney White of Arlington, Texas, Kelsey Coker of Arlington, Texas and Eric Young of Arlington, Texas. He is also survived by two great-grandsons, Korbyn Barnes and Kayde White of Arlington, Texas.
The family requests that memorials be made to Rescue the Animals.
The family first began in the funeral business in 1933. The Hamil's legacy, beginning with the Elliott's to John and Jo Ann Hamil and now continuing with Robert and Karla Hamil, is to serve families in their time of need.