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NWBA Hall of Fame Member Ella Chafee Has Passed Away

06/18/2019, 11:00pm CDT
By Linda Mastandrea*

It is with profound sadness that the National Wheelchair Basketball Association announces Ella M. Chafee’s death. We are deeply saddened to have lost a beloved NWBA Hall of Fame member. 

Chafee was a graduate of the University of Illinois, long-time member of the Midwest Olympians and Paralympians, supporter of Chicago's bid for the 2016’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, and founding member of the RIC Express/RIC Chicago Sky wheelchair basketball team. Ella Chafee’s Paralympic Games experience covers four decades and multiple sports. 

Beginning at the 1964 Tokyo Games, Chafee won silver and bronze medals in swimming events, while earning another bronze medal in the foil fencing. Four years later, she won gold in the 4 x 100-meter track relay. Chafee returned 28 years later to compete in foil and epee fencing at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, placing highest among all US women in foil with an 8th place finish. 

Among her many accolades through the years, Ella was inducted into the Wheelchair Sports USA Hall of Fame in 1990, the NWBA Hall of Fame in 2014 and received the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Fitness Sports and Recreation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Ella dedicated much of her life to improving the lives of people with disabilities—particularly girls and women—through sports participation, and touched people all over the world with her efforts. 

Her obituary follows: 

Ella Chafee (nee Cox)

Beloved wife of the late Ian C. Chafee, Loving mother of Ian (Debra) Chafee & Kathleen (Eric) Hummitsch.
Cherished grandmother of Grace, Cameron, Katelyn & Faith. Dear sister of Rita M. Cox. Fond sister in law of Hope Chafee.

Resting at Thompson & Kuenster Funeral Home, 5570 W. 95th St in Oak Lawn where Services will take place Friday at 10:00 am.
Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
Visitation Thursday from 3:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to Lincoln Way Special Recreation Association, 1900 Heatherglen Drive, New Lenox, IL 60451 would be greatly appreciated.

To donate click here. 

*Thank you Linda Mastandrea for writing this wonderful piece about Ella 

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