Joseph Chapline (1920 - 2011)

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  • "I first met Joe Chapline in 1973 when I was looking for an..."
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  • " I’m sorry to say that most of what I know of Joe came by..."
    - Mike Ainor
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    - Kitty Fischer
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    - Gail Szostak
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NEWBURY - Joseph Chapline, 91, died peacefully Monday, August 8, 2011 at his home in Newbury, surrounded by people he loved and cherished mementos from his accomplished life.

Born August 2, 1920 in Philadelphia, his love of music developed when he began singing in choirs at the early age of 10. He went on to graduate from Ursinus College with degrees in history and political science as well as a fascination of the English language. Soon Mr. Chapline became a research associate in mathematics at the Moore School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. While there, he contributed to the WWII effort by working on the Differential Analyzer. Shortly after the war, Chapline helped to develop the Binac and Eniac; two of the worlds earliest computers. In addition, he mastered the craft of technical writing and produced a comprehensive manual on how to properly operate and maintain the Eniac. Chapline taught well over 200 classes in technical writing.

In 1953, Chapline returned to his childhood passion of music and was hired as the organist and choirmaster for the Unitarian Church of Germantown in Philadelphia. In addition to the providing the music during weekly Sunday services, Mr. Chapline presented and conducted Bach's Christmas Oratorio nine times and twice performed Britten's Noye's Fludde with his wife, Julea. While there, he championed the cause for a new tracker-action pipe organ, which was graciously dedicated to the church in 1963.

By 1964, Chapline honed his talents and focused his energy on a new challenge, creating intricate and beautiful pipe organs. Influenced by E. Power Biggs and other established concert and church organists in the Philadelphia area, Chapline toured organ factories in Germany and came home ready to try his hands at building and rebuilding organs. Within a year, Chapline mastered the craft and successfully began Chapline Organs. He built and refurbished many fine instruments over the years including the Hook and Hastings Organ which he played at Trinity Episcopal Church in Claremont, until his retirement in 2009 at the age of 89. During his long and productive life, Chapline hand built 15-instruments and rebuilt 15 others.

After thirty years as the Musical Director of the Unitarian Church of Germantown, Chapline retired and moved to Newbury with his wife, Julea. Living on Lake Sunapee was the realization of a life-long dream for both of them. And, although retired, for the next 18 years while living in Newbury, Chapline dedicated his time to being the primary organist and choirmaster at St Paul's Episcopal Church in Concord. Throughout his remaining years, he also played other organs and led many different choirs in various worshiping communities including Jewish Synagogues, Protestant, and Roman Catholic Churches. One of the priests at St Paul's Episcopal so poignantly stated "he played with insight and depth and joy and enthusiasm Joe Chapline did indeed play music with all of his heart.

Joseph Chapline's beloved wife Julea (Stad) Chapline, died in 1991.

He is survived by his children Suzanne Chapline Day and Philip Chapline; five granddaughters; three great grandchildren; all of whom are living in the Philadelphia area and his partner, Rod Torbert of Newbury.

A Service in Celebration of the life of Joseph Chapline will be held Saturday August 20, at 2 p.m. at St Paul's Episcopal Church, Centre Street, Concord.

A reception for all who attend will be held following the service in the parish hall.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Lake Sunapee VNA & Hospice, PO Box 2209, New London, NH, 03257-2209.

Bennett Funeral Home, located at 209 N. Main Street in Concord is graciously assisting the family with these arrangements.

Messages of condolence may be offered at
Published in The Concord Monitor on Aug. 11, 2011
Arrangements under the direction of:
Bennett Funeral Home
209 North Main street | Concord, NH 033015048 | (603) 225-3517
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