James R. “Chappy” Chapman (LTC USAF ret.), 89, of Peru, IN, passed away at 10:00 AM, Thursday, December 5, 2019 at Miller’s Merry Manor in Peru. He was born in Trenton, Nebraska on July 20, 1930 the son of Harvey and Florence Blue Chapman.
Chappy graduated from Trenton High School in 1947 and in 1951 he left the family farm to join the United States Air Force where he served his country with honor for over 20 years as a highly decorated pilot, fighting in the Korean War and Vietnam War. His numerous medals include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and the United Nations Service Medal. While Chappy was stationed at Bunker Hill Air Force Base, he met Beverly Shoemaker and they were married on June 1, 1957 at the base chapel. After his retirement from the military in 1971, Chappy earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and became a math teacher at R.O. Gibson Jr. High and William E. Orr Jr. High in Las Vegas. When he retired from teaching, he and Beverly moved back to her hometown of Peru in 1992.
Chappy was a member of the St. Charles Catholic Church, Massacre Canyon VFW Post 10561 in Trenton, NE, F-100 Super Saber Association, F-86 Saber Pilots Association, American Legion Post 337 Trenton, NE, Peru Maennerchor, American Meteorological Society, 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, Monsignor Paul A. Welsh Assembly No. 2146 and Cardinal O’Hara Council No. 718 of Peru. He enjoyed gardening and golfing.
James “Chappy” Chapman is survived by his sons, Daniel J. Chapman of Las Vegas and Russell A. Chapman of Peru, his brother Thomas Chapman of Ashland, NE, sisters, Catherine Reiners of McCook, NE, Shirley Rine of Waverly, NE, grandchildren Amber & Andrea Chapman, and great-grandchildren Isabella, Logan & Madalyn Carpenter and Lili & Antonio Aviles.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Beverly, brother Oscar Chapman, sisters, Floretta Thomsen, Barbara Patenberg and Patricia Lafferty and granddaughter Jessica Carpenter.
A service celebrating the life of James R. “Chappy” Chapman will be held at the Eikenberry-Eddy Funeral Home, 84 W. Main St. in Peru on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 2:00 PM with Rev. Adam Mauman officiating. Burial will be at the Greenlawn Cemetery in Mexico, IN with military graveside service provided by members of the Miami County Military Rites Unit. Visitation will be at the Eikenberry-Eddy Funeral Home on Saturday, December 14, 2019 from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Miami County Helping Hands.
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