CANADA, Ky. — Tom Chapman was born August 17, 1923 at Kimper, Ky., and departed this life January 28, 2014, making his stay on earth, 90 years, 5 months and 11 days. The son of the late General and Nancy Varney Chapman, the oldest of 14 children, he was an inspiration to his brothers and sisters.
Brother Tom enlisted in the U.A. Army during the World War II conflict in March of 1943, becoming a paratrooper in November, then being assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. This precious Brother served his country with honor, dignity, valor and enormous amount of courage. Being in the heart of conflict, in the battles of Normandy, Holland, parachuting behind enemy lines in Bastogne, Belgium during the battle of the Bulge, cut off from allies, surrounded by the enemy yet he was never cut off from the presence of God. For his valiant service he received the Bronze Star, French Medal of Honor, the Belgium Orange Lancer, Two Presidential Unit Citations, four Combat Stars and the German Occupation Medal.
After being released from the army as a staff sergeant, he returned home and began working in the mines. He met and later married his first wife, Golessa Blackburn Chapman, on June 28, 1952. They were blessed to share 42 years together in beloved happiness until Our Heavenly Father called Sister Golessa home to be with Him on November 5, 1994. Also preceding Tom in death were four sisters, Mildred Deskins, Chrystalene Chapman, Alma Chapman and Helen Johnson and three brothers, James Chapman, Don Chapman and Alvin Chapman.
Brother Tom and Sister Golessa were blessed with one daughter, Sharlene Chapman of Cincinnati, Ohio; two granddaughters, Michelle Brown of Cincinnati and Lydia Dildililian of Florida, and two great-granddaughters, Alexandria Taylor Brown and Sophia Brown. Also surviving is his blessed wife, Ruby Anderson Chapman of Canada, Ky.; one step daughter, Jacklyn Leake of Michigan; two step-grandchildren, Tracy Limke and Alisha Limke; brothers, Elster Chapman of McConnelsville, Ohio, Denver (Annie) Chapman of Cincinnati, Doug (Flo) Chapman of Canada, Ky., and Dee (Jenny) Chapman of Warsaw, Ind.; sisters, Mable Donathon of Lake City, Mich., and Marie (Herb) Thornbury of Canada, Ky., and a host of family and friends.
During the period of the late fifties, with work being scarce, Tom and Golessa moved to Ohio, he began working for Senco Products of Cincinnati and after 27 years of service he retired in 1983.
After Brother Tom's and Sister Ruby's beloved companions passed away, it appears the Mighty Hand of God, once again touched their lives. We who were blessed to know them can witness to the love, joy, happiness and compassion they had for each other. He would often times speak of the love he had for her, how life was exciting and challenging every day, there was never a dull moment. They met in September of 1995 at the Mates Creek Association hosted by the Raccoon Primitive Baptist Church and were married on September 18, 1995 at the Big Creek Church with Elder David Allen officiating, this is the first time Brother David wore a tie.
Brother Tom united with the Big Creek Primitive Baptist Church in the year of Our Lord, October 1988, being baptized by Elder Randall Thornsbury and Elder Michael Elswick. Ordained to the office of a deacon in August 1996, serving the Church faithfully with a commitment of love for Our Precious Savior and the Sheep of his pasture, the inheritance of Our Lord.
We who are alive, sorrow not as others which have no Hope, for if we believe God raised Jesus from the dead, then our precious family, regardless of race, color or creed who have fallen asleep in Christ will live again on that great and notable day of Our Lord.
May we finish with saying, yes our loss is great, our hearts are broken, his seat in the Grand Old Church is empty, but Brother Tom will live within our hearts until we also are blessed to sleep in Sweet Jesus from which none will wake to weep.
I pray to God, in Jesus name we who are alive and remain will continue to follow in the paths of Righteousness as God had decreed in His Holy Script. Being faithful, steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of Our Lord Jesus Christ, according to His abundant Grace, which worketh in us both the will and the do and that of His Own Good Pleasure.
Funeral services will be held Friday, January 31, at 11 a.m. in the Big Creek Primitive Baptist Church with Mike Elswick, J.C. Hager, Vance Jones and David Allen Thacker officiating. Burial will follow in the Varney Branch Cemetery at Kimper, Ky., with nephews serving as pallbearers.
Visitation will be from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at R.E. Rogers Funeral Home with special services both nights at 7 p.m.
Online condolences at www.rerogersfuneralhome.com
R.E. Rogers Funeral Home of Belfry, Ky., is in charge of arrangements.