Cover photo for Nathaniel  Chafee's Obituary
Nathaniel  Chafee Profile Photo
1940 Nathaniel 2022

Nathaniel Chafee

April 11, 1940 — June 23, 2022

We are very sad to share the news of the death of Nathaniel Chafee, 82, after a brief illness, on June 23,2022.  


Nat was born April 11, 1940, in Providence, Rhode Island. His parents, Francis Haseltine Chafee, a physician, and Jane Spofford Chafee, had two children before him:  Richard Spofford Chafee, and Molly Chafee Harrington.


He attended Providence Country Day School. He received a B.S. in Mathematics from Harvard University in 1962, and he continued his studies at Brown University, where he received a Ph.D in Applied Mathematics in 1966.


In 1973, Nat joined the faculty at Georgia Institute of Technology  in Atlanta, Ga, where he became an Associate Professor. He retired from Georgia Tech in 2001.


In 1986, Nat survived a serious head injury sustained in a car accident. While recovering from this, he began a relationship with Ingrid Coleman, who was a professor of French at Morehouse College. They were married in 1989, and they enjoyed a long and happy marriage. Nat loved, honored, and cherished Ingrid until his last day.


After his retirement in 2001, Nat and Ingrid traveled to France, Italy, Spain, and Russia. Nat had been to Mexico, Holland, and the USSR during his academic career, and he enjoyed the opportunity to see the world again at leisure.


Nat loved mathematics deeply, but he had many other interests and passions. He was an amateur astronomer and a sailor. He was active and generous in philanthropy, supporting conservation, education, human rights, and other causes. Everyone who knew him remarked that he was one of the kindest and gentlest people they had ever encountered.


He will be missed greatly. He is survived by his wife Ingrid Coleman Chafee, his stepsons Robert and Charles Coleman, his sister Molly, his brother Dick’s wife Inge, and his niece Louisa Chafee.


There will be a memorial service July 12 at 1 pm, at A.S. Turner funeral home,  at  2773 North Decatur Road, Decatur Ga. A reception will follow. We hope to see friends and family there. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Brain Injury Association of Georgia at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Nathaniel Chafee, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Memorial Service

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)


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