William B. Chaffee was born on February 26, 1922, the son of Herbert L. and Gertrude (Bacon) Chaffee, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He earned a B. A. from Jamestown, and both a M. A. and a Ph. D. from Michigan State University.
Professor Chaffee taught various classes in the Central Michigan University Physics Department from 1977 through 1989.
On January 20, 1991, Chaffee died at the Isabella County Medical Care Facility in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. He was survived by five children, Carter, Carolyn Good, Catherine Collins, Gigi Saunders, and Robert, 14 grandchildren, and a sister, Saralou “Sallee” Garland. He was preceded in death by both of his parents. Chaffee was buried from the First Presbyterian Church, of which he was a member. (This information is from his obituary, in the Morning Sun, January 22, 1991, a copy of which is in the collection.)