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James Forbes Chapin

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James Forbes Chapin, after a long illness, wherein he battled valiantly against a variety of crises, died at the Manor Care Nursing Home at 5pm Saturday July 4th. He was a musician and author of world renown, being most famous for the creation of a drumming technique known as Independent Coordination, which is now the basis of all modern jazz drumming.

He is survived by his long time friend and companion, Gloria Rasmussen, and their poodle, Bailey, originally of England, now of Estero, Florida. There are eight children still surviving of previous marriages, along with a growing number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, most of which are following in the musical tradition of this family patriarch.

Manhattan born and bred, Jim lived in Sag Harbor, Long Island for many years and also had a home base in New York City. His last permanent place of residence was Estero, Florida. As a musician, however, Jim travelled extensively all his life, and enjoyed successful and exciting teaching and playing experiences in many towns all over the United States; also Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, China, Brazil and Russia.

With a background of cultural activities and higher education in his family (his father was a widely recognized painter and his mother was a Vassar graduate) it was only natural and expected that Jim would follow in those cultivated and academic footsteps indeed, he entered the College of William and Mary, but after only several semesters, he eschewed the academic pathway and announced his intention to be a drummer. In 1936, therefore, at the World's Fair, the enthusiastic young man found himself playing opposite the great Gene Krupa! From then on, until the final months of his illness, the enthusiasm never diminished for his chosen art.

A celebration of Jim's Life will be held for his family and friends at the Harvey-Engelhardt-Metz Funeral Home, 1600 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers on Monday July 13th at 3pm. In lieu of flowers, donations would be gratefully received by the Harry Chapin Food Bank of S. W. Florida. Ms Rasmussen and the Chapin family would like to take this opportunity of thanking the Social Services and involved medical departments of the Lee Memorial Hospital for all their interest in and care of Mr. Chapin. Similar expressions of gratitude must also go to Manor Care, Eagle Ridge Drive, whose administrators and staff made Jim's last weeks on earth as comfortable as possible with their care and compassion.

Published in The News-Press on July 10, 2009
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