A.H. Chatfield, Jr.
With sad and heavy heart we report the passing of a unique and outstanding gentleman, A.H. Chatfield, Jr., late in the evening June 14, 1999 at his home at Aldermere Farm, Rockport, Maine. The article below is reprinted from U.S. Beltie News, July, 1999. A scholarship fund has been established in his memory. Donations are invited.
A.H. Chatfield, Jr.It’s going to be difficult for those of us who worked with A.H. Chatfield, Jr. to get used to the idea that he has gone. And many of us worked with Chat, because he was involved with everything to do with the Belted Galloway breed, right to the last day of his long and estimable life.
We could easily insert a history of his accomplishments and honors here – development of one of the earliest and finest herds in the U.S., the many committees worked on and offices held, shows judged, meetings hosted, foundation animals supplied to new breeders, the years he spent bringing Aldermere’s frame sizes up not one, but several notches – but all of these topics have been documented in our early Herd Books, in our current Handbook, on the Beltie and Galloway World Internet pages.
Click for larger image What is more difficult to write about is Chat, the man himself. And this is due in no small part to his reticence on the subject. Interviews with him over the years have always sidestepped the personal and centered on the breed, the herds, the Society, the progress made and projects yet to be tackled. Chat’s eye was always on the horizon.
From the unfailingly respectful and affectionate references to his late wife Marion we determine that he enjoyed a very happy marriage. But it took twenty years of conversations to learn that he’d met his lovely wife in 1923 while on a cruise in the Mediterranean. The bond made when he was a stripling in his early 20s endured 69 years.
No retiring violet, Marion was integrally involved with development of the Aldermere herd and Chat reserved for her his highest praise, “She was a good judge of cattle.”
Chat had his prejudices. For one, he never flew on a plane. His visits to Europe were leisurely cruises, his travels in the U.S. were accomplished by rail or in later years in the comfort of his ‘house on wheels’ – he was very fond of traveling by motor home.
The Chatfield family made their home in Cincinnati, Ohio for many years. Chat’s youthful career was with the U.S. Playing Card Company, later he was financial adviser to an investment counseling firm, and in retirement he continued to peruse portfolios as manager of the family’s trusts and investments. Click for larger image.
Though the old Daniel Barrett sheep farm on the edge of Rockport, Maine had been purchased in 1899 by Chat’s father Albert H. Chatfield, Sr., it was primarily the family’s summer home until 1950 when Chat and Marion made the rocky coast of Maine their year-round residence, with visits welcomed from their three children. In 1953 the famed Aldermere Belted Galloway herd began with a foundation of a half dozen females and a bull purchased from Harry Prock of Pennsylvania and was augmented over the years by imports from Great Britain.
Chat had a wonderful ability to gather dedicated and loyal people around him, and his herd profited greatly from a long association with expert cattleman and farm manager Dwight Howard, who has called Aldermere home for 35 years. More recently herdsman Kevin Woltemath was added to the roster, a top flight ag man from Nebraska who knows his way around both paddock and show ring.
Chat was an interesting study in contrasts. We enjoyed long conversations where he debated the merits of $17 copies of photographs vs. $34 originals. But when we called to ask for support for a project, he simply said, “What do we need?” And it arrived.
Recent member interest in the Beltie as a beef animal pleased Chat enormously. Ahead of his time, as always, he’d begun preaching the bottom line use of the animal well over ten years ago, when many of us were still thinking of Belties as pets.
Click for larger image.
Chat never slowed down, never stopped learning. Many of us have enjoyed gracious Aldermere tours where at age 94 or 96 he gallantly opened paddock gates and pushed bulls aside to show us just one more group, one more animal. But I’m sure there are those who will appreciate my surprise a couple of years ago when his deep voice on the phone said, “Jane? Chat here! I was noodling about on the Net today and … ” Noodling about on the Net! At age 97, he’d decided to learn to navigate the mysteries of cyberspace and was doing a pretty fair job of it. He was very approving of the Beltie pages Paul Breslin developed for the Society, and made a weekly foray to check on the site’s progress. We heard from him if our i’s weren’t dotted and our t’s crossed. Mr. Chatfield was a towering force behind the development of the Belted Galloway breed in this country, and we won’t soon see his like again. It will take a bit of time to get used to a world without his abruptly cheery phone sign-off, “Right-oh!” __________
Photos, top, in 1929; center, Marion, Chat and Dwight Howard in 1960s; bottom, Mr. Chatfield in 1998. Also see Profile on Galloway World site.
A.H. Chatfield, Jr. Memorial Fund
In order to perpetuate the memory of one of our organization’s best known and most influential members, Council has authorized the establishment of the A.H. Chatfield, Jr. Memorial Fund.
The earnings from this Fund will be used for one or more annual scholarships to be awarded toward post-high school educational expenses for a person who has demonstrated an interest in and working knowledge of the Belted Galloway breed. A committee of members from the Belted Galloway Society has established criteria for scholarship selection.
Your tax deductible contribution will help a deserving youth receive an education and will help keep memories of this fine man alive. Please make your checks payable to the Belted Galloway Foundation with a notation to apply toward the Chatfield Scholarship Fund.
Vic Eggleston – Executive Director
Belted Galloway Society, Inc.
N8603 Zentner Rd. – New Glarus, WI 53574
The Foundation will promptly mail acknowledgment of your donation for tax purposes.