Sarah Beale Gaffin

March 31, 1949 – July 27, 2020
Place of Birth: 
Newark, New York
Place of Death: 
Rochester, New York
Perinton, New York

Service Event Information

Funeral Service


Newark Cemetery

Sarah Beale Gaffin

Perinton—Sarah Beale Gaffin passed away peacefully at the age of 71 on Monday, July 27, 2020

Sarah is survived by her husband C. Harold “Hal” Gaffin of Perinton; two children: Jennifer (William) Murray and George F.T. (Nora) Yancey III; three step-children Michelle, Robert and Craig Gaffin; five grandchildren: Hannah and G.F. Tagger Yancey IV; Samuel, Margaret and Maxwell Murray; great grandson Abram Yancey; her brother James Beale Jr.; sisters: Harriet (John) Bonin and Elizabeth (Richard) Leppert; as well as many nieces and nephews. Sarah was predeceased by her parents James M. and Margaret (Stuart) Beale of Newark N.Y. and her step-son Todd Gaffin.

Sarah was born on March 31, 1949 in Newark, N.Y. She was a 1967 graduate of Abbott Academy in Andover Mass. While raising her family she earned her bachelor's degree from William Smith College, graduating Summa cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa with Honors in History. Sarah was the director and Curator of the Wayne County Historical Society and Museum in Lyons. She began her professional career at Hobart and William Smith in 1982, joining the Office of Advancement. In 1997 she joined RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences as their Director of Development. She left RIT in 2000 to become the Vice President for Development for WXXI Public Broadcasting Council. Her love of Hobart and William Smith Colleges saw her returning in 2004 to finish her career as Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement. She retired in 2018.

Sarah loved spending time with her family, being on Sodus Bay and travelling. She incorporated all of these in her signature Camp Grama experience every summer for her 5 grandchildren. She instilled her love of art, history and nature to her family. Her life lessons will be carried on in all those who loved her.

A private family service was held at the Chapel at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Sarah’s family is planning a celebration of her life when the need for social distancing due to the pandemic subsides.

In lieu of flowers memorials, in her name, may be made to Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Sarah Beale Gaffin ‘78 Endowed Scholarship Fund; 300 Pulteney Street; Geneva, New York 14456.




In the dictionary you wouldn't be surprised if next to the word "grace" was a picture of Sarah. I so enjoyed getting to know her and she will always hold a special place in my heart for being THE one person who encouraged me to get "involved" with the Colleges as an alum aying the groundwork for what became about 25 years on the Alumni Council and Board of Trustees. I am forever grateful for her presence in my life.



Sarah was a lovely person, a wonderful colleague and friend. Rest in peace, Sarah.

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