Deceased December 6, 2016
Another of our “best and brightest,” Dick Chapin, died Dec. 6 of complications of dementia at age 88. He came to Amherst after Andover, was a member of Alpha Delt, earned his degree in math, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was commodore of the sailing club, an enthusiasm he continued throughout his life.
Always interested in art, he spent three years at the University of Cincinnati, graduating in 1952 with a B.S. in industrial design where he was a member of Delta Phi Delta, the honorary art society. Next came three years of duty aboard destroyers in the navy.
Following his military service, he worked as a furniture designer in New York until he opened his own firm, Chapin Designs in Charlotte, N.C., in 1966. Dick then helped to found the American Society of Furniture Designers and served as president in 1985-86. He won the Daphne Award for Excellence in Design in 1985.
He was completely devoted to his family and passionate about his career, sailing and music and managed to find time for each. His family joined Lake Norman Yacht Club in 1963, and he served as club commodore in 1968. He then helped found and promote the Highlander fleet, the Laser fleet and the junior program.
With family as crew, Dick was club champion in 1966 and again in 1973. He campaigned his boat, a Highlander class center boarder, and built the LNYC fleet to be the largest in the class. He was president of the Highlander class in 1970. But here is my favorite part. He was also an accomplished musician and taught himself to play the bagpipes! Thus there would be a piper at the Highlander regattas, and he joined the Charlotte Caledonian Pipe Band in 1970 and was pipe major from 1972 to 1975.
Talk about “a man in full,” Dick was that in spades, excelling at everything he attempted and loved by so many friends. His was a wonderful long life; he will be greatly missed. He is survived by his wife, Eve, four sons, 10 grandchildren, one great-grandchild and two brothers who also went to Amherst. It may sound trite, but “it doesn’t get much better than this” … another classmate of whom we can be genuinely proud.
Gerry Reilly ’49