Stanley Gaffin was an accountant by trade, so respected that he had clients in such far-flung places as Belgium and St. Thomas and of such renown as a US senator. But as good as he was with figures, not even Mr. Gaffin could have added up the number of lives he touched.
Mr. Gaffin, a long-time resident of Newton, died on Feb. 19 on Cape Cod, where he and his wife, Irene, had a summer home. He was 88.
His death came just a few months before the flowers would again bloom in the Garden City, many of which he planted himself. That was just one of his many contributions to Newton, where the late Mayor Ted Mann appointed him founding chair of the Newton Pride Committee and where he helped launch the Heartbreak Hill Youth Road Race and the July 4th fireworks display. For serving as treasurer of Newton's 300th anniversary celebration, he was honored with a key to the city.
Besides a family that includes three generations of descendants, he leaves behind seven "Little" brothers. Now accomplished adults, they benefited from Mr. Gaffin's guidance and encouragement as a volunteer for Jewish Big Brother Big Sister Association of Boston. He devoted nearly half his life – 37 years – to the association, including a stint as president. No one has yet to match his span of service or number of boys mentored. He helped establish a similar program in Ukraine for Jewish children from broken or single-parent homes.
In his own family, Mr. Gaffin had no little brothers of his own, just older sisters – five of them. Known to his friends as Mickey, he was born in 1924 in Dorchester to Harry and Sadie Gaffinowitz. The first in his family to attend college, he earned a bachelor's degree and a master's in business at Boston University. He served in the Navy during World War II.
He owes his 63-year marriage to Irene to a blind date. Friends fixed him up with her for a fraternity formal in 1947. They married two years later on Labor Day at Congregation Mishkan Tefila, then located in Roxbury. They remained members of the synagogue for decades, as both the shul and their family moved to Newton.
He also was a member of Anshei Chesed, the Conservative synagogue on Cape Cod, and Temple Emeth of Delray Beach, Florida.
A certified public accountant, Mr. Gaffin was described by a colleague as "like a professor, and we were lucky to be his students." That same colleague added that "sometimes he would loudly pay a compliment for a job well done -- and remind you that more hard work is a reward for working hard." As a testament to Mr. Gaffin's own hard work, he was tapped by former Senator Edward Brooke to serve as treasurer of his re-election campaign.
Mr. Gaffin's many volunteer activities also included work on behalf of B'nai B'rith and, through Mishkan Tefila, the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy. At the age of 75, he served as a volunteer in Israel for the army.
In addition to his widow, Irene, Mr. Gaffin leaves a son, Harris, and his wife, Charlotte; daughter Barbara and her husband, Doug Cahn; and daughter Beverly. He is also survived by his grandchildren, EG, Tamar, April and Mag; his great grandchildren, Ayanna, Ben and Josh; and his sisters, Gert Gurian and Bella Kaplan. He was predeceased by sisters Ann Polono, Mildred Bardfield and Ida Kalis Satran.
Donations in Mr. Gaffin's honor may be sent to the Jewish Big Brother Big Sister Association at 333 Nahanton St, Newton, MA 02459, or a charity of your choice.