Service:A memorial service in his honor will be held on Thursday, June 27 at 5:00pm. Please contact Collins Funeral Home for more information.Contributions:In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Adirondack Council or to the ASPCA.

Dr. J. Christopher Jaffe

October 4, 1927 ~ May 23, 2013


Dr. J. Christopher Jaffe, a 58 year resident of Norwalk, CT, died peacefully at home among his loving, devoted family on Thursday, May 23, 2013.

Dr. Jaffe was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1927, the son of Dr. Boris and Ludmila Jaffe. He

was married to Marcia Paris Jaffe in 1951.

He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, a M.A. in Theatre from Columbia University and an honorary doctorate from Rensselaer.

A pioneer in the field of acoustical design, in 1958, he founded Stagecraft Corporation, which later became Jaffe Acoustics. He has worked on more than 250 performance halls including such prestigious projects as the acoustic renovations of the Hollywood Bowl, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, John F. Kennedy Center, Bass Performance Hall, Severance Hall, Tokyo International Forum and Sala Nezahualcoyotl in Mexico City. He most recently was a Principal Consultant with Acentech in Cambridge, MA.

He has taught acoustics at the Juilliard School, City University of New York, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he is the founder of the master’s program in architectural acoustics. His honors include the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for Business, the American Institute of Architect’s Award for Collaborative Achievement, and election to the RPI Hall of Fame. In 2010, he authored The Acoustics of Performance Halls: Spaces for Music from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. In 2011, he received the Wallace Clement Sabine Medal from the Acoustical Society of America, “for innovative acoustical solutions in performance hall design and for architectural acoustics education.”

An active outdoorsman who hiked, swam, skied and sailed, he spent his summers in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. He first hiked Mount Marcy at the age of eight with his mother and sister.

He is survived by his children Irene, Chris, Jr., and Nina, his daughter-in laws, Trudy and Karen, his grandchildren, Matthew, Courtney and Kayla and his three cats. He was predeceased by his wife, Marcia Paris Jaffe, his parents and sister, Irene.

A memorial service in his honor will be held on Thursday, June 27 at 5:00pm. Please contact Collins Funeral Home for more information.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Adirondack Council or to the ASPCA.

  1. Chris was a long-time supporter of the Rensselaer Libraries and Institute Archives here at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. We always enjoyed his visits. Several of us got to know him well. We will miss his visits.

    Our sincere condolences.

    Bob Mayo
    Director, Rensselaer Libraries

    June 3, 2013
    Bob Mayo -
  • If you shared a meal with Chris, or a comfortable booth in a restaurant or bar during some international conference somewhere where good wine and appetizers were shared, and heard his stories, you remember Chris. If you worked in Mexico with Chris, and watched him absorb and delight in the food and culture, and art, you remember. Over the twenty years we were colleagues at collaborating consulting firms, i heard his jokes and stories, shared the wine, and reveled in the warmth and wit of this very special and very talented acoustician. I will always remember one very special dinner in Boston, after the Harvard seminars he and Josh Dachs taught, where he became particularly and spectacularly giddy, with results that made the entire table hysterical. His talent was breathtaking; as was his kindness, genuine concern for and love of humanity, and his non stop joie de vivre. I hope he is hiking somewhere ‘ over the rainbow’ and knows that we remember and revere him.

    June 3, 2013
    joanna baymiller -
  • Dear Irene, Nina and Chris:

    We are so very sorry for your loss. Please know that we hold you in our thoughts and prayers. Chris was such a dynamic personality; he will be greatly missed.

    June 6, 2013
    Arden, Tom & Mathew Church -
  • Dear Irene, Nina and Chris:

    I am so sorry to hear of Chris’ death and can only echo all that Joanna Baymiller wrote. It has been an honor to call him my mentor every chance I got. As such, my audio work over these many years was and continues to be fundamentally grounded in his ideas. Even greater gifts were his approaches to art and indeed to life. These enriched mine immeasurably as it did all those associated with him.

    June 9, 2013
    Chuck McGregor -
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