November 16, 2008

Another of America's "Greatest Generation" is gone!

Mr. Bill was the father of my oldest friend, Bill K., Jr.  Junior and I met when we served in the same Army unit in Germany in 1966-67.  We've been friends since that time.  I never had an opportunity to meet Jr.'s mother Lella, who died in 2001.

Bill Jr. and his wife visited with us in Louisiana a few years ago and brought Mr. Bill with them.  We enjoyed the best two weeks with Mr. Bill and his beloved Henry!  A couple of years ago we visited with Mr. Bill for a few days at his home near Keizer, OR.  My wife and I reveled in his sense of humor and graciousness.

As example of his humor, Jr. told me that his father had slipped off of a dining room chair, and lay on the floor for sometime before a neighbor discovered him there.  The neighbor asked if he was ok, and when he responded that he was "fine," the neighbor asked why he had not gotten back into the chair.  Mr. Bill exclaimed that it was "more comfortable on the floor!"

I knew that Mr. Bill was not well several months ago, and through Bill, Jr. kept up with his declining health.  Still, it was with sadness and a feeling of personal loss when Jr. told me that Mr. Bill had died peacefully in his sleep.

The following is his obituary from Oregon's Wilamette Valley newspaper, The Statesman Journal, on-line edition of Nov. 16, 2008:

Col. Bill K. Chapman, U.S. Army, Ret. January 8, 1916 - November 12, 2008 SALEM - Bill K. Chapman, 92, died peacefully at home on November 12. Bill dedicated his life to his family and his country. He proudly served his country in WWII in the Pacific Theater. After the war, he continued to serve his country in the Army and the Army National Guard, retiring with the rank of Colonel. Bill held many prominent positions during his military career, including Base Superintendent in Portland and ranking positions in the State Military Department. After retirement, Bill enjoyed traveling, fishing, golf, and gardening with Lella, until her death in 2001, and spending time with family and friends, and their beloved dog, Henry. He is survived by his sons, Bill Jr. (Teresa) of Keizer and Stephen of Salem; daughter, Judy Chapman of Orange, Calif.; sister, Marylou Palmer of Salem; grandsons, Brian Chapman (Sarah) of Hillsboro and Mark Chapman (Dawn Boras) of Beaverton; serveral nieces and nephews; a special friend, Eva McIntire; and many dear friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lella; four brothers; and his parents. Private interment will be at City View Cemetery. Contributions in his name may be made to Union Gospel Mission or the Salvation Army. Arrangements are by City View Funeral Home.

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