Cover photo for Darrah Perry Chavey's Obituary
Darrah Perry Chavey Profile Photo

Darrah Perry Chavey

d. January 6, 2024


Darrah Perry Chavey, 69, of Beloit, WI, passed away, surrounded by family, on January 6, 2024, from complications following heart surgery.

Darrah was born in 1954 in Flint, MI, to Eunice and Roland Chavey. He graduated from Grand Blanc High School (Grand Blanc, MI) in 1972 and the University of Michigan-Flint, with a BA in Mathematics and a BS in Chemistry in 1976. He continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison earning an MA in Mathematics, a PhD in Mathematics, and an MS in Computer Science.

Darrah was a lifelong teacher and learner. He was a professor in the Mathematics & Computer Science Department of Beloit College for almost 40 years. His particular areas of research were Ethnomathematics (mathematics as developed and used by non-European cultures) and Computational Algorithms (the study and creation of efficient and clear computer instructions). He lectured internationally, wrote a book, translated another, and contributed to two textbooks on the subjects, one of which will be coming out later this year.

However, Darrah’s curiosity went much farther. He studied the movement and dynamics of Ballroom Dance, earning teacher certification from the US Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (now the American International Dance Association). He and his then-girlfriend, Peggy, began teaching Social Ballroom in 1981. Jointly they developed and taught dance courses and curricula in various ballroom rhythms at both UW-Madison and Beloit College. He and Peggy took this ballroom knowledge and applied it to Round Dance (prompted or cued ballroom) when Darrah began cueing in 1985. In addition to running a round dance club (Friendship Rounds) in Madison, WI, he cued and taught at well over a hundred events, including other dance clubs, dance weekends, state and national conventions, and extensively volunteered his skills and resources to the community. In 2017, he was named to the Wisconsin State Caller/Cuer Hall of Fame.

Darrah was an avid collector of science fiction, science fantasy, and speculative fiction books by female authors - eventually expanding it to authors from other marginalized groups. He taught a number of one semester courses evaluating speculative fiction and what it said about our world, its history, and our place in it. He was an active member and supporter of SF3 and WISCON.

Outside the classroom, Darrah was the faculty advisor for a number of Beloit College student groups and clubs – BSFFA, Alliance, Juggling Club (no, he couldn’t juggle), and Ballroom Club to name just a few. He was an academic advisor (major, minor, and first year) for hundreds of students over the years and maintained contact with many of them after graduation, so he could cheer them on as they moved through life. He endowed two student achievement awards – the Chavey Family Endowed Award in Dance (a dance performance award) and the George and Joyce Kammerer Outstanding Choreography Award (named after one of his early dance teachers).

Darrah was also an enthusiastic Pokemon Go player. He regularly hosted monthly Community Days on the Beloit College campus and organized the Wednesday evening Raid Train starting at Riverside Park.

Darrah is survived by his spouse, Peggy Weisensel Chavey; his 2 children, Rhiannon (Stephen) Rudisill and James (Lexie) Chavey; the grand-twins, Ethan & Avalon; 2 brothers, Russ (Christy Winder) Chavey and Kevin Chavey; 2 sisters, Karen (Terry) Anway and Katherine (Jim) Doyle; 3 step-brothers: Scot (Tammy), Bill (Melissa), and Ted (Tricia); and many nieces, nephews, and in-laws.

Darrah was preceded in death by his parents, step-mother, Carol (Krumbach) (Freed) Chavey, and sister, June Wiekierak.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks, CA -or- Welty Environmental Center in Beloit, WI

Remembrances can be submitted below or sent to:

Family and friends are invited to a Memorial Service and Celebration of Life on March 9th at 1:00pm at The Castle, 501 Prospect St, Beloit, WI.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Darrah Perry Chavey, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

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