Donald M. “Chatty” Chatellier, who coached the track team at Washington College for more than three decades, died Aug. 15 from cardiovascular disease at the Resorts at Chester River Manor in Chestertown. He was 89.
Coaching “was a lifetime job for Chatty. He was admired and respected,” said Bill Tanton, former Evening Sun sports editor and columnist. “There was a small core of coaches in the athletic department; he certainly was a key member of it.”
Donald Mortimer Chatellier was born in Avon-by-the-Sea, N.J., and raised in Kearny, N.J. He was the son of John L. Chatellier, a silversmith, and Ida Mae Cornwall Chatellier, a homemaker.
After graduating in 1947 from Kearny High School, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1952 from Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., and a master’s degree in education in 1953, also from Springfield.
He served two years in the Army, then came to Washington College in 1955 as head men’s track and field and cross country coach. He was also head coach of the junior varsity men’s basketball program and a physical education instructor at the Chesterstown school.
Known as “Chatty,” he coached the track team until its discontinuation in 1982, and the cross country team until 1987. Immediately following the discontinuation of track, he took over the reins of the men’s rowing program and coached that team until 1990.
During his track and field tenure, he coached a number of Mason-Dixon Conference and Middle Atlantic Conference champions.
“His knowledge of the sport was so well-respected that coaches of the Middle Atlantic Conference continued to call upon him to organize and conduct conference championship meets long after Washington College dropped the sport,” said his daughter, Ellen M. Stevens of Chestertown.
He spent 35 years as a head coach at the Eastern Shore college, third most at the school behind Tom Kibler, who coached baseball, basketball and football, and Edward L. Athey, a baseball, basketball and soccer coach for the Shoremen. Mr. Athey also served as athletic director.
Mr. Chatellier served as both assistant and associate director of athletics for many years under Mr. Athey. He helped developed a robust intramural program for both male and female students.
After he retired in 1990, Mr. Chatellier continued living in Chestertown and maintained his relationship with the college. He was an active member of its Hall of Fame board, and assisted in overseeing rowing regattas as well as volunteering in other areas of college life.
He was inducted into the Washington College Hall of Fame in 1989, and in 2014 was recipient of the Edward L. Athey Award, which is presented to an individual who has made a significant impact on athletics at the college while demonstrating integrity and dedication.
The track encircling the campus’ Kibler Field was named the “Chatty Track” in his honor. Each May on the track, H. H. Garnett Elementary School in Chestertown conducts the Sneaker Creeper — a series of youth races as part of a PTA fundraiser.
“He was a generous and enthusiastic annual supporter of that event,” his daughter said.
Mr. Chatellier’s daughter and son-in-law participated in dogs shows, and “he’d travel and video tape our dog,” his daughter said.
She said her father liked “tinkering on the computer” and watching Baltimore Orioles and Ravens games and televised track meets.
“He liked watching the Olympics and pretty much all competitive sporting events,” Ms. Stevens said.
His wife of more than 60 years, the former Elizabeth Greenock, a secretary, died in 2012.
A memorial service will be held for Mr. Chatellier at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam Funeral, 130 Speer Road, Chestertown. The family suggested those attending “dress casually and wear your favorite running or tennis shoes.”
“He’d appreciate that because he pretty much wore those shoes everywhere,” Ms. Stevens said. “That was my father.”
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Chatellier is survived by son Dana S. Chatellier of Bear, Del.; two sisters, Barbara Syme of Lyndhurst, N.J., and Jeannette Payne of Jacksonville, Fla.; three grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.