HAMMOND, NY — Thomas L. Chapman of Hammond went to Heaven on Thursday, March 5, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Betty, his wife of more than 60 years, and daughter, Jennifer, were by his side.
Tom was born Jan. 25, 1938, in Cortland, New York, the son of Samuel and Grace (Greenfield) Chapman. His family moved to Hammond in 1945, where they owned and operated Chapman Point resort on Black Lake and Chapman’s Sports Shop in Hammond.
He graduated from Hammond Central School in 1956, and married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth (Betty Dunn) Chapman on Sept. 6, 1959 at the Hammond Presyterian Church. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Health from SUNY Cortland in 1961, followed by his Masters Degree in Secondary School Administration in 1969 from St. Lawrence University.
His life-long love of teaching and coaching began in 1961 in Waterloo, NY, and a year later, he returned to his alma mater, Hammond Central School to teach Physical Education and Health for 32 ½ years. While acting as the Title Nine coordinator and Athletic Director for the school, he coached basketball and baseball, with successful basketball teams winning overall Section X championships and other accolades. Known to generations simply as “Coach,” he continued to support all sports and students at HCS for years after his retirement, watching games online when he was too ill to attend in person.
He is survived by his wife, Betty, his daughter, Jennifer Chapman Gallego and her husband, Ryan, and five siblings, including his brother, Harold, and sisters, Helen Eshelman, Ruth Brooks, Mary Schutt, and Virginia Pielke. He was predeceased by two brothers, Bill and Andy and two sisters Mildred Kinney and Ella Constandy.
Tom was active in north country politics and issues affecting his beloved community, and was a active member of the Hammond Masonic Lodge #281. He and Betty also owned TLC Antiques for over forty years, participating in antique shows and running estate sales. But more than anything, he loved being outdoors – fishing on Black Lake (he knew the lake from one end to the other), hunting, and trapping. Everyone who knew him has a “Coach Chapman story” and he always had so many of his own stories and jokes to tell. Please share your favorites in the comments – in these stories, he will live on forever through all of us.
Calling hours will be held 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at Frary Funeral Homes with a special Masonic service at 7:00 p.m.
The funeral service will be 2 p.m. Thursday, March 12. A reception will follow at the Brier Hill Vol Fire Department Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Friends of Hammond Athletics (via Citizens National Bank in Hammond) or Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley.