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G.W. Chapman


1929 - 2011 Obituary Condolences
G.W. Chapman Obituary
Family and friends of G.W. Chapman will gather to celebrate his life of 82 years on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011, at 10 a.m. at the Hamilton O'Dell Funeral Home chapel in Alamogordo. Mr. Chapman died Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. A tribute of Mr. Chapman may be found at www.memorialdesigners.net, where you may leave memories and expressions of sympathy for his family.
G.W. Chapman was born Oct. 18, 1929, in Alamogordo to Lester Brown Chapman and Myrtle Choate Chapman and raised in Carrizozo. He served in the United States Army and the National Guard. G.W. married Vada Morgan on June 24, 1950, in Alamogordo. He was employed at Holloman Air Force Base as a civil service employee with the planning and estimating group. G.W. was a member of the New Mexico Elks Lodge No. 1897, the Sacramento Masonic Lodge No. 24, and a member of the Alamo Chapter No. 11 Order of the Eastern Star.
G.W. Chapman was well known in Alamogordo and was a lifelong supporter of Alamogordo High School athletics. In 1949, G.W. went to work for the U.S. Forest Service and fought the Capitan fire of 1950. He became known as the firefighter who rescued Smokey Bear from a burned tree. The money he earned from fighting this fire enabled him to marry his wife, Vada. In 2005 Mr. Chapman was honored by the Smithsonian Institute and the U.S. Forest Service at the 100-year anniversary celebration of the U.S. Forest Service. For his efforts, he was invited to attend the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival where he was recognized and was able to share the story of the bear rescue in many public forums. He was also featured in an article the June 2005 Smithsonian Magazine, which can be viewed at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/The-History-of-Smokey-the-Bear.html.
Survivors include his loving wife, Vada Chapman; his daughter Deborah G. Sonnamaker and husband, Bob, of Hobbs; and sons Gary W. Chapman and wife, Carlynn, of Alamogordo, and Larry R. Chapman and wife, Karla, and David L. Chapman and wife, Karen, all of Lubbock, Texas. He is also survived by his granddaughters JayLynn Silva and husband, Garydon, of Ruidoso, D'Anne Carter and husband, Dan, of Phoenix, and Lilly Chapman, of Lubbock, Texas; grandsons Ryan, Taylor and Austin Chapman, all of Lubbock; and four great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions are welcome and the family suggests the Smokey Bear Museum, http://villageofcapitan.org/museum/museum.html; the New Mexico Elks Lodge No. 1897, http://www.elks.org/lodges/home.cfm?lodgenumber=1897; Benevolent Fund of Alamo Chapter No. 11, Order of the Eastern Star, P.O. Box 974, Alamogordo, NM 88311; or Sacramento Masonic Lodge No. 24, http://www.sacramento24.org/contact.html.
The Chapman family has entrusted Hamilton-O'Dell Funeral Home to direct the arrangements. To sign the online register book, please visitwww.hamiltonodell.
com.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Dec. 29, 2011 to Jan. 29, 2012
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