Ann Chafin Wall

Published 8:58 pm Monday, March 10, 2014

Ann Elizabeth Chaffin Wall, of 264 Mill Creek Lane, Bath, NC, died peacefully in her sleep on February 26, 2014, at Duke Raleigh Hospital in Raleigh, NC, following a two-year struggle with lung cancer. A private celebration of her life will be held at her home for family and close friends at some time in the future.

Ann was born in Richmond, VA, on August 26, 1941, to the late Louise S. and Thomas E. Chaffin, Jr.  She attended Highland Springs High School in Highland Springs, VA, graduating in 1959. She then went on to Richard Bland College in Petersburg, VA, College of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, NC, and, in 1981, graduated Magna Cum Laude from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, with a degree in special education.

Following graduation, Ann had a multi-faceted career in various aspects of special education. She taught mentally handicapped students in the Greenville City School system in Greenville, NC, for awhile. From there, she went to the Beaufort County Child Development Center in Washington, NC, where she served as Program Director. She then worked as a Psychoeducational Therapist at the Greenville TEACCH Center, a program for children and adults with autism.

Following this, Ann served as Director of Project HIRE, a program out of East Carolina University focusing on vocational training and placement for mentally handicapped adults. Then, it was on to West End, NC, and the Sandhills Center for Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse where she worked as a Coordinator of Early Childhood Intervention and Case Management Services. Finally, Ann returned to the Greenville TEACCH Center where she served as a Vocational Therapist for adults with autism and later as a statewide TEACCH Vocational Consultant. While in this position, Ann worked with individual clients and their families, but was also instrumental in setting up vocational enclaves and group homes for autistic adults, many of which are still in operation today. She also traveled to England, Japan, Sweden, and many locations in the United States training teachers to use the TEACCH Structured Teaching Approach in their classrooms and group homes.

Ann deeply loved working with handicapped children and adults and was committed to ensuring that their lives were improved through knowledge, skill enhancement, and support. In her career, she positively affected many individuals and families in North Carolina and around the world. She will certainly be fondly remembered for her good work in this field.

Ann was an active person who believed that being involved with others and with her community was the way each of us gives back to the world around us. She was an avid reader, cook, birder, conservationist, animal lover, and political advocate. She was a member of all the regional libraries, the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation, the Sierra Club, and the Beaufort County Democratic Party where she worked actively in the Bath-Surry precinct for a time.

Ann is survived by her husband of almost 15 years, A. Jack Wall; daughter, Helene and her husband, David Steffensen, and their three children, Lyndsey, Andy, and  Avery, of Greenville, NC; son, Matthew Warren Clark of Oregon; and son Edward Chaffin and his wife, Hye Sook Jee, and their son, Lewis Sae Bin Chaffin of the United Arab Emirates; brother, Thomas Chaffin, and his wife Linda of Richmond, VA; step-daughter, Leah Kristine Wall, and her son, Christian, of Charlotte, NC; brother-in-law W. Fred Wall of Jacksonville, NC; and sister-in-law, Donna Rankin of Coronado, CA.

In remembrance of their loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina, an organization that Ann had become strongly involved with recently. She felt compelled to educate people about the disorder that would take her life; she wanted the public to know that lung cancer kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined, to alert them to the dangers of the disease and its symptoms. She worked hard to make people aware of the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment. The Initiative is located at 4000 Blue Ridge Road, Suite 170, Raleigh, NC, 27612. Their phone number is 919-784-0410; website located at