Dr. James Lee Chapman

  • Born: September 19, 1932
  • Died: February 20, 2016
  • Location: Spring Arbor, Michigan

Watson Funeral Chapel

2590 Spring Arbor Road
Jackson, MI 49203

Tel. (517) 782-7144

Tribute & Message From The Family

Chapman, Dr. James Lee

Jim was born in Manchester, Louisiana, on September 19, 1932. He went to be with his Lord on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at the age of 83. He is survived by his wife, Mary, of 59 years. He has one son, Ronald (Elizabeth) and two grandchildren: Justin and Natalie. He is survived by his brother, Sidney (Pat), his sister, Vanessa White, his sister-in-law Violet Henderson, and numerous nieces and nephews. His parents, Randolph and Ida Chapman, one sister, Margie Kees, and one brother, Kenneth, preceded him in death. In 1948 at the ages of 16 and 14 respectively, Jim and Sid came to attend Spring Arbor High School and Junior College. He loved the school immediately, and through the years it has played a major role in the important decisions of his life. He committed his life to the Lord at an early age. He credits his dear praying mother for establishing a firm foundation for his faith and support through the years. He served his country for two years in the U.S. Army in Hawaii. He received a Bachelor's Degree from Greenville College, in Illinois, a Masters from the University of Michigan, and a Doctorate in Education from Michigan State University. After graduation, he served as dean of students at Spring Arbor College, Associate Dean of Students at the University of Iowa, a consultant for Cresap Paget and McCormick in Connecticut, President of West Liberty State College in West Virginia for 14 years, and after retiring was invited to become president at Spring Arbor University. He served for four years in this capacity and counted it a great privilege. He and Mary have enjoyed the last several years as part-time residents at Light and Life Park in Lakeland, Florida, and have been able to spend more time with their immediate family which he loved very much. He will be greatly missed by family and friends. Services will be held at the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church, Saturday, February 27, at 1:00 p.m., with Pastor Mark VanValin officiating. Interment Spring Arbor Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church or Spring Arbor University.

Visitation at the WATSON FUNERAL CHAPEL, Friday, February 26, from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Saturday at the church from 12:00 p.m. until the time of service at 1:00 p.m.

WATSON FUNERAL CHAPEL
2590 SPRING ARBOR ROAD
LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1930

www.watson-funeral-chapels.com


Condolence & Memory Journal

Candle

He was the best grandpa that anyone could ever have! I will forever miss you.

Posted by Natalie Chapman - grandchild   December 03, 2018

Dear Mary, Ron & The Chapman Family,

I am very sorry for your loss, and saddened to learn of Jim's passing. You and your family are in my prayers. As a freshman at West Liberty, I saw a man with thick white hair, sunglasses, exercise jogging suit and a smile, strolling across campus, picking up liter along the way. When I realized it was Dr. Chapman, I thought how peculiar, the President of the College picking up and disposing liter wherever he sees it. That activity was routine for him throughout my four years at West Liberty, it was a part of who he was, a man who cared deeply about the welfare of the College and especially the students. Three years later I had the good fortune (translated blessing) to serve as student government president in 1984 and the privilege and honor to sit face to face with Dr. Chapman in his Presidential office in meetings he convened to discuss student issues and policies. It was in those meetings and discussions my impressions grew stronger, he was not an ordinary man, but I wasn't sure I knew why. As the President of the College, and a man of great intellect and education, he was gracious, warm, and deferential to me in all of our conversations, even when it was clear our values did not align. What did I know except for everything (translated nothing) about the greater purposes of life and leadership and being on the planet and having a purpose greater than self? He on the other hand was a man with a deep faith and relationship with God, which seemed to be inextricably woven into the core of his being, and it seemed to govern the whole of his life, of which I knew very little. In the years that followed after leaving West Liberty, I came to a saving faith in God and His son Jesus, and reflected upon my years at West Liberty. It was then that I understood why Dr. James Chapman was such a special and extraordinary man. Being fully persuaded we live in a world where the battles between good and evil rage all around us and sometimes in us, it would be easy for good men to do nothing or retreat in fear from the battles of the day, and yet this man had the courage and strength to joyfully enter the battle and do all the good he could for as long as he could. Out of deep respect and a sincere debt of gratitude, I called Dr. Chapman one day, and with an emotional and quivering voice, thanked him for the positive influence he had in my life, for him being a man of integrity, and uncompromising values, and how my experience with him was a part of my eventual coming to Christ. I also, told him how I hoped one day I would be a James Chapman in the life of others. After a slight pause, and with a quivering and tearful voice, he expressed how much my call and words meant to him, he also expressed his joy that I too now knew his savior the way he did. What a great and humble man! Mary and Ron, I will be forever grateful to this extraordinary man whose mission field for a season of his life was West Liberty State College. Thank you for sharing him with us. I know he is where he's always longed to bein the presence of our Savior. Because of men like James Lee Chapman, I too look forward to that extraordinary day!

My deepest admiration,

Lee Sahene

Posted by Lee Sahene - Canonsburg, PA   October 19, 2016

Mary, Sid and Family,

My first two years at Spring Arbor High School were spent on third floor of the Men's Dorm, just down the hall from the "Chapman Boys". Couldn't have asked for better friends.

My sympathy and prayers to Mary and Sid.

Wendell Collver H.S. 1950

Posted by wendell collver - jackson, MI   February 26, 2016

To the Chapman family, I am so sorry for your loss. . . I was a student and football player at West Liberty in the early80's. He was a fine man. West Liberty was a better place because of him.

Posted by Lance LaFollette - Woodsfield, OH   February 24, 2016

Dear Mary & family,
You are in the thoughts and prayers of the Light & Life Community. May God comfort your heart and give you His peace.
In "HIS: Amazing Love,

Posted by Betty J. Teachout - Spring Arbor,, MI   February 24, 2016

Dear Mary and Ronnie, I am very saddened to read of dear Jim's passing but I am happy to think that he and my father are reunited and swapping West Liberty stories. Of course the best part is that they are in the hands of our loving Father. Sweet Mary, I have misplaced your phone number and address. Please email me so we can get together the next time you are in Florida. You are such a beautiful, lovely lady and I want to see you.
Your friend always and Ronnie's former babysitter,
Nancy Arnett
Narnett@cfl.rr.com

Posted by Nancy Arnett - Indialantic, FL   February 24, 2016

Isabel & I are thinking of you and the family at this sad time, Mary. The West Liberty years are fondly remembered. Jim was a great friend.
Frank Harrar, Retired Dean of Students, West Liberty State College

Posted by Frank & Isabel Harrar - Wheeling, WV   February 24, 2016

My condolences to Sid and family.

Posted by Elwood Hunt - Easton, WA - Classmate   February 23, 2016

So sorry for your family's loss. Jim will be remembered for a long time to come for his friendliness and willingness to serve. So many honors and degrees in his life yet he wasn't too proud to pick up litter up and down Deeson Rd. Pam & Jim (Wilkins) Wallick.

Posted by A friend   February 23, 2016

Jim will always be a favorite friend. Each of our lives were changed when we came to Spring Arbor High School in 1948. Larry Starr

Posted by A friend   February 23, 2016

I have seen Jim and Sid's life along with Paul Lynch's lives as guided by the Lord. Someone's prayer's were answered by these men being involved in God's kingdom. Thank you dear God for these men who served you faithfully over the years. I have a great deal of admiration for these people. Thank you Sid for continuing in the walk with God as your is your family and friends.
Arlene Zirk (Hunt) Pielemeier

Posted by Arlene Zirk Pielemeier - Redmond, WA - Classmate   February 23, 2016

Sending my Sympathy, and Prayers for Comfort and Peace.

Posted by Faith Baldwin McInturff - Mokena, IL   February 22, 2016

Tim and Nancy Price

Posted by A friend   February 22, 2016

Breathing prayers!

Clancy and Doris Thompson

Posted by A friend   February 22, 2016

Thank You for your Service. We are forever in your debt. Condolences to all.

Posted by A friend   February 22, 2016