Mary Eleanor (Thompson) Chaffin




Life and Work

When Mary Chaffin stepped off the train in Red Deer in April 1904, she thought the country looked like paradise. She and her husband Arthur had acquired a homestead near Content, leaving behind her family's home on the arid plains of Kansas.

They raised seven children of their own and built a fine farm. Besides farm duties, Mary became a midwife. An excellent horsewoman, she rode to the expectant mother's home with a bag of baby garments tied to the saddle.

While mining coal along the river in 1930, Arthur broke his pelvis and leg. Mary cared for him until he entered a nursing home and died in 1946. She left the farm and worked as a mother's helper and housekeeper in Calgary.

Mary moved to Vancouver Island to live with her oldest son. There she remarried, but her second husband died four years later and she returned to the Delburne area, eventually marrying a longtime friend, Orville Puffer. Mary died on July 6, 1963.


Memories of Mary Chaffin by Audrey Nicholson, granddaughter

She was my grandmother for whom I have great love and respect. She had great compassion for the young mothers she knew and did many kindnesses for them and their children. When her records were examined after her death, it was found that she had been the caregiver for 53 new babies and their mothers. Her encouragement spread far and wide.