James G. Chapman ’42
Deceased June 1, 2011
Jim Chapman died peacefully in Fayetteville, N.Y., on June 1, 2011.
Jim was born in Cleveland on Oct. 10, 1920. His family subsequently moved to Norwalk, Conn., where Jim attended University Prep.
Coming to Amherst in 1938, he joined Psi U and was an All-American halfback in soccer. He was also a member of the swimming team and the Christian Association.
After graduation, Jim was drafted in October 1942 and spent two years learning to speak German before the army realized they needed bodies more than linguists. Assigned as an infantry replacement in Europe, Jim was wounded and captured. Treated well by the Germans, he was liberated in April 1945 and returned to the U.S. with a Purple Heart.
After a year and a half at Columbia Business School, Jim joined his uncle’s business in Syracuse, the Chapman Lumber and Development Co.
Shortly after returning from Europe, Jim met his wife-to-be, Catherine “Kay” Wood, at a USO party. They were married in 1948 and had a happy marriage for more than 60 years. They had “four great sons” (according to Jim) and “six beautiful granddaughters destined to be even greater since the good genes skip a generation—a little known fact” (also according to Jim).
Jim spent his entire business career in the family business in Syracuse. In the mid-1950s, I had the pleasure of visiting Jim and meeting Kay since my Philadelphia Air National Guard Wing had summer camp at an air base near Syracuse. When I talked to Jim on the phone in 2009, I could tell that he hadn’t lost the wry sense of humor he shared with his sister, Mary (Mrs. Miner Crary). Jim is survived by his four sons and his six granddaughters.