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Dan Chaffee

September 28th, 1954 - July 25th, 2007

I'm remembering my old friend Dan Chaffee on the 11th anniversary of his passing. By old, I mean that we were friends a long time ago, losing touch with each other many years before he left this earth. But that didn’t change the place I saved for him in my heart. I’ve held onto these photos I shot because I knew I wouldn’t forget “our time” as friends, what his being in my life from my junior year of high school through my first year of college meant to me. Dan encouraged me—a student who had felt fairly invisible during my freshman and sophomore years—to run for our school’s governing board.  He brought out leadership abilities I didn’t know I had. When I made my campaign speech, I caught his eye and saw him smiling. I finished and he said, “That was beautiful. Total B.S. But you did exactly what a politician is supposed to do to win your audience.” And I thought, “So that’s how it’s done! I didn’t even know I was B.S.ing.” He knew. Dan had been the youngest person in Pennsylvania to run for school board, and after I graduated from high school, he was elected to the State College Borough Council. He taught his students that local politics mattered perhaps even more than state or national politics. He stirred us to think of our lives as our time to change the world for the better. He was a funny, talented guy who made me laugh; a private, reserved person who sometimes also made me cry. Our time was short. His time here with us—with everyone who was blessed to know how lovable he was—was too short. Yesterday may be done, but I will never forget Dan. Thank you, Cathey Chaffee, for being a friend and sharing your memories of your brother with me.

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Harlan Knudson

He was a great friend and with his brother Corey (and their family) opened my eyes and mind to many new things during my time at the AP. He is missed.

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Joe Philips

Joe was a good. guy. He was especially kind & understanding of a goofy, misfit underclassman and really inspired me to get my sh*t together. He was more than a bit of a mentor, introducing me to music and ideas I would never otherwise have been exposed to and encouraging my intellectual and existential development.

"Outside the upside down shoe lies the parts of your mind that you always walk on" - JP, 1978 yearbook

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