JAMES FRANKLIN CHAPMAN
1920 - 2020
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James Franklin Chapman passed away on Monday, July 27, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. He died three months shy of his 100th birthday. He was the son of Eloise and Noah Chapman of Anderson, Missouri. He was born on October 23, 1920.

Judge Chapman graduated from the University of Missouri, receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree in June, 1943. He entered the United States Navy in 1942, and was commissioned an Ensign from Columbia University, New York, on November 24, 1943. He served as Executive Officer and Navigator of LST 222 and 307, in the Pacific from 1943 to 1946. He took part in the invasions and capture of the Marshall Islands, Saipan and Tinian, in the Mariana Islands; Peleliu, and the occupation of Japan, in World War II.

After the war, he attended Law School at the University of Missouri from 1946 to 1949, when he received his Juris Doctorate Degree. He practiced Law in Jefferson City, Missouri, from 1949 to 1951, at which time he was recalled to the Navy during the Korean Conflict. From 1951 to 1973, he served in the Judge Advocate General Corps. From 1967 to 1973, he served as head of the Navy-Marine Corps Judiciary Unit in Norfolk, Virginia. He sat as Military Law Judge for General Courts Martial for the Navy and Marine Corps on the East Coast and in the Caribbean.

In 1973, he retired from the Navy as Captain, and moved with his family to San Antonio, where he has served as an Administrative Law Judge for the Office of Hearing and Appeals.

On December 10, 1949, he married his wife, Margaret, in Jefferson City, Missouri, who preceded him death in 2017. They traveled the world together as part of his Navy career and continued to travel for pleasure in civilian life. Together, they were members of Trinity Baptist Church. They enjoyed wonderful times with friends during their time as members of the Lamplighters Dance Club, the Revelers Dance Club, and the Navy League. He was also a member of the Torch Club of San Antonio, Oak Hills Country Club, the Petroleum Club, and Fort Sam Houston Officers' Club.

Judge Chapman is survived by their daughter, Mimi Victoria Chapman, and her husband, Adam Greenleaf Searing, as well as his grandchildren, Skylar Chapman Searing (19), and Cameron Chapman Searing (13). He had friends who maintained a deep devotion to him and whom he considered family. For his daughter, in whom he sought to foster independence, goodwill to all, and equanimity in the face of difficulty, there was no more loving father. He particularly loved his son-in-law whom he described as "pure gold."

His friends could count on him for good counsel and good humor. He loved them dearly and so appreciated their devotion to him as he declined. For his grandsons he was a walking history book. His direct experiences with his own grandfather and uncles allowed him to tell stories of the Civil War and everything that came after. He also loved the beauty of the natural world and took great pleasure, wisdom, and solace from a walk on a trail, a fishing trip with his father and brothers, or the wonder of the night sky. The world is so much better because he was in it.

He would want to thank the community of caregivers at the Forum of San Antonio, Heart to Heart Hospice, and Family Tree San Antonio who took such tender care of him as he declined in the last year, as well as Bertha Manzanares who helped him in his home for years before his move. He and his family are indebted to such kind and skilled people who give so much of themselves to their work.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a small private memorial service will be conducted by the Reverend Les Hollan. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a time to be determined.

Memorials may be made to: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work or Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio.

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Published in Express-News on Jul. 31, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
August 4, 2020
My condolences to Judge Chapman's family. My father was Engineering Officer on LST 242 from 1942 through 1945. He entered the Navy in 1942, taking his training at both University of Wisconsin and at Princeton. His LST was pictured on the cover of LIFE Magazine near the end of WWII. I believe the landing portrayed a line-up of LSTs on Leyte. I wonder of my dad and Judge Chapman knew one another. Lt. Henry Sieland from California was my dad. Both Judge Chapman and my father served bravely and were truly fortunate to return to their families and to lead productive lives. May the Lord send you His peace and consolation.
Ann Woody
August 3, 2020
Mimi, We are so sorry to hear of your loss. This has been a tough 2020 for many. We lost Roy, Docia's husband on July 11th. Sharing our deepest sympathy.
Sarah Southworth-Thaxton
Family Friend
August 2, 2020
Mimi, I was so sorry to hear of your father's death. Your mother was so gracious, and I always enjoyed my visits with your father. He always had a positive outlook on life and had had such an interesting life. He had a wealth of wonderful friends, but I know he missed your mother after so many years together. I know you will miss him a lot, but know you have wonderful memories, that will keep him with you forever.
JIll Parker
Friend
August 2, 2020
I worked with Judge Chapman for 15 years. He was always very kind and a pleasure to work with.
Suzy Daniels
Coworker
August 1, 2020
The Judge was a perpetually cheery, kind man who was beloved by his daughter and all her friends who knew him. The Chapmans' amazing sense of joie de vivre through travel, learning, and life passes in beautiful legacy through their daughter Mimi. I am thankful and honored to have known the Judge and Mrs. Chapman and I know they blessed everyone who knew them. I look forward to seeing them again in Heaven someday. Mimi and family, we love you all and you are in our prayers. Hope to see you soon.
Elizabeth and Paul
Elizabeth Sharkey
Family Friend
July 31, 2020
Dear Mimi, having the privilege of working with Judge Chapman and calling him a friend was one of my career highlights. When I first arrived at the San Antonio Hearings Office, he had to be absent and said, "let the new Judge cover my hearings." And I was off! Judge Chapman and the "Queen Bee" attended our son's Bar Mitzvah. He never tired of asking how "young Ian" was doing or hearing my answers as I bragged on my kids. As a young judge, I often popped into his office to ask a question or two. Sometimes I caught him during his lunchtime siesta, but he never failed to offer words of wisdom, even if he was reclining! We actually met you at Judge Chapman's 90th birthday party. I will treasure the memory of that party. He was so happy and charming and everyone had so much fun. Judge Chapman was kind, fair, charming, hardworking, easygoing and simply a gem of a human being. Every evening at 5pm, as he was leaving the office, he walked by my office and said: "It's time to go home." He kept his life in balance and now it's his "time to go home." Godspead, Judge Chapman. Fondly, Ilene Kramer
Ilene Kramer
Coworker
July 31, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We miss you Judge. By far one of the most honorable people I have ever met.
Alexis Murdock
Coworker
July 31, 2020
He was a wonderful Uncle who certainly had funny and interesting stories to tell.
Mr. & Mrs. Rolland D. Chapman
Family
July 31, 2020
On behalf of the members of the Green Mountain Boys Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, I want to extend our condolences to the family of James and Margo Chapman. Margo was our Chapter's organizing regent and we recognize the support given to her by her husband. Our prayers and thoughts are with your family
Jean Kanter
Acquaintance
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