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James Franklin Chapman

Obituary for James Franklin Chapman

October 23, 1920 - July 27, 2020
San Antonio, Texas | Age 99


James Franklin Chapman passed away on Monday, July 27, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. He died three months shy of his 100th birthday. He was the son of Eloise and Noah Chapman of Anderson, Missouri. He was born on October 23, 1920.

Judge Chapman graduated from the University of Missouri, receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree in June, 1943. He entered the United States Navy in 1942, and was commissioned an Ensign from Columbia University, New York, on November 24, 1943. He served as Executive Officer and Navigator of LST 222 and 307, in the Pacific from 1943 to 1946. He took part in the invasions and capture of the Marshall Islands, Saipan and Tinian, in the Mariana Islands; Peleliu, and the occupation of Japan, in World War II.

After the war, he attended Law School at the University of Missouri from 1946 to 1949, when he received his Juris Doctorate Degree. He practiced Law in Jefferson City, Missouri, from 1949 to 1951, at which time he was recalled to the Navy during the Korean Conflict. From 1951 to 1973, he served in the Judge Advocate General Corps. From 1967 to 1973, he served as head of the Navy-Marine Corps Judiciary Unit in Norfolk, Virginia. He sat as Military Law Judge for General Courts Martial for the Navy and Marine Corps on the East Coast and in the Caribbean. In 1973, he retired from the Navy as Captain, and moved with his family to San Antonio, where he has served as an Administrative Law Judge for the Office of Hearing and Appeals.

On December 10, 1949, he married his wife, Margaret, in Jefferson City, Missouri, who preceded him death in 2017. They traveled the world together as part of his Navy career and continued to travel for pleasure in civilian life. Together, they were members of Trinity Baptist Church. They enjoyed wonderful times with friends during their time as members of the Lamplighters Dance Club, the Revelers Dance Club, and the Navy League. He was also a member of the Torch Club of San Antonio, Oak Hills Country Club, the Petroleum Club, and Fort Sam Houston Officers' Club.

Judge Chapman is survived by their daughter, Mimi Victoria Chapman, and her husband, Adam Greenleaf Searing, as well as his grandchildren, Skylar Chapman Searing (19), and Cameron Chapman Searing (13). He had friends who maintained a deep devotion to him and whom he considered family. For his daughter, in whom he sought to foster independence, goodwill to all, and equanimity in the face of difficulty, there was no more loving father. He particularly loved his son-in-law whom he described as "pure gold." His friends could count on him for good counsel and good humor. He loved them dearly and so appreciated their devotion to him as he declined. For his grandsons he was a walking history book. His direct experiences with his own grandfather and uncles allowed him to tell stories of the Civil War and everything that came after. He also loved the beauty of the natural world and took great pleasure, wisdom, and solace from a walk on a trail, a fishing trip with his father and brothers, or the wonder of the night sky. The world is so much better because he was in it.

He would want to thank the community of caregivers at the Forum of San Antonio, Heart to Heart Hospice, and Family Tree San Antonio who took such tender care of him as he declined in the last year, as well as Bertha Manzanares who helped him in his home for years before his move. He and his family are indebted to such kind and skilled people who give so much of themselves to their work.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a small private memorial service will be conducted by the Reverend Les Hollon. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a time to be determined.

Memorials may be made to: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work or Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio.

A live stream of his service will be available on Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 6:30 pm. via this link

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work .
  • Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio

Arrangements By

Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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