In Memoriam: Alfred Chaet


Alfred B. Chaet

Born:   June 7, 1927 Dorchester, Massachusetts
Died:   July 23, 2013 Maitland, Florida

After a brief illness Alfred B. Chaet passed away on July 23, 2013, in Maitland, Florida, at the age of 86.

Alfred B. Chaet was born in 1927 in Dorchester, Mass.  He finished high school at age 17 and snuck off to enlist in the United States Army. Using his keen intellect he persuaded the Army recruiters to accept his early enlisting and began training to fight in the war at 17. However, a strange twist occurred and the Army needed someone who could type so he was needed at the base and did not get shipped to the front.

After the Army, Alfred found that his passion was learning and he studied physiology, zoology, and biology.  He had a love for nature and the sciences and earned a Ph.D. in marine physiology from the University of Pennsylvania and began a career in academia and collegiate administration. He married Shirley Rice Chaet on September 2, 1950. Together they resided in Maine, Mass.; Washington, D.C.; California; and Florida.

He taught at the University of Maine (1953-1956), Boston University of Medicine (1956-1958), and the American University (1958-1966).  He undertook sabbaticals at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego (1964-1966, 1987-1988).  

Second only to his wife Shirley, his greatest pride and joy was the formation of the University of West Florida (UWF), on May 1, 1966, in Pensacola, Fla., where he was Gamma Provost, administrator, and professor of biology.  He, along with the founding faculty, grew UWF literally from the ground up, choosing each building, writing bi-laws and hiring all faculty and staff.  Alfred’s other passion was photography; taking hundreds of thousand images.  These were described as being straight forward, sensitive, tastefully different, and a reflection of his scientific background.

He and his loving wife, Shirley Chaet, raised their three children, Doug Chaet of New Jersey, Mark Chaet of Florida, and Judi Chaet Jacobs of Georgia.  Alfred and Shirley have 11 grandchildren:  Austin, Alexis, Meredith, Jason, Cal, Chelsea, Chloe, Sara, Steven, Adam, and Zachary.

He retired from UWF on August 22, 2000, and he and Shirley left Pensacola moved to Maitland, Florida.  Shirley preceded Alfred in death on May 25, 2004.  Alfred and Shirley Chaet are now lovingly lying side by side in the beautiful and orderly Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Fla.

Donations in Honor of Alfred Chaet will be accepted by the UWF Foundation, Inc. -- designated to the Department of Biology -- and mailed to 11000 University Parkway,  Pensacola, FL, 32514.

(Submitted by daughter Judi Jacobs)

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