Marion Leroy Chapman 1942-2023

Marion Leroy Chapman was born January 4, 1942, in Yuma, Colorado to William and Beulah (Wells) Chapman. He was the seventh of eight children. His early childhood was spent on the family farm southwest of Eckley, Colorado. When he was eleven years old, the family moved to the Brush area, where he attended schools at Snyder and Brush. At the age of 15, he hitchhiked to Norton, Kansas, and lived for some time with his oldest brother, Dearld and his family. When he turned 18, Marion enlisted in the United States Navy and served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard, seeing several tours of duty to Hong Kong, the Philippines, and other Asian ports. He was honorably discharged in 1963, with the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class. Marion returned to the Wray area, where he worked for his brother-in-law, Dallas Welp. He later worked for Gale Brown, a local carpenter, and in the dry-cleaning business in Yuma.
Marion and Hazel were married on November 29, 1964, in Wray. He said he married her to get her off the roads driving to and from her work! They were proud parents of two children: Teresa born in 1970, and Stuart born in 1972.
At heart, he always loved farming. Ray T. and Cora Anderson gave him his first chance in this profession. In 1967, he started farming in partnership with Ray on their farm south of Wray. In 1973, Marion and Hazel purchased their first farm one mile east of Vernon and moved from Wray to their current home. This began a lifelong love of the land-farming was his passion. He was an excellent steward of the land, raising corn, sugar beets, wheat, and edible beans. When the kids were home, during the growing season, nearly every Saturday evening they would drive around to look at the crops before going to dinner-usually at the Pizza Factory! To him, there were three seasons: before harvest, harvest, and after harvest.
Marion taught Teresa and Stuart to love the land as he had, and his greatest pride was that Stuart followed in his footsteps after returning from college and has been running Chapman Farms for several years now. Marion always could plant a straight row but said Stuart could do better (this was before GPS!) Teresa went away to college and did not pursue farming, instead working for Morningstar in Chicago, IL. When Teresa’s family decided to move from Chicago to Missouri Marion doubted Teresa’s ability to be able to keep her career and work remotely away from the office. She proved him wrong and advanced to a great position within the company. Both shared the same stubbornness!
Marion was a self-made man, very driven in his profession, impatient-not suffering fools easily. He was sure in his farming methods and was determined to have the best crops grown. This was not always the case, what with hailstorms, drought, and other setbacks of farming, but he continued to be optimistic. He was pleased to have put together a farming operation that gave a great measure of security to his family.
He took flying lessons and became a private pilot in the 70’s, greatly enjoying flying his private plane. One of the more memorable trips was Marion flying in his plane to Las Vegas with Hazel, his mother, and his aunt. A great time was had by all!
Marion was the charter president of the Wray Jaycees and was a member for some years. He was a retired Vernon Volunteer Fireman, served on the board of the Colorado Corn Administrative Committee, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Western Sugar Cooperative.
His great joys later in life were his grandchildren and traveling. He loved being a part of his grandchildren’s lives and watching them grow. Marion and hazel took many enjoyable trips in the US and overseas to Italy, France, England, Russia and Egypt.
He was proceeded in death by his parents, William and Beulah Chapman, sisters, Earlene Ferguson and Ramona Welp Crownover, brothers, Dearld and wife, Laura Chapman, and Billy and wife, Patricia Chapman.
He is survived by his wife, Hazel, sisters, Mary Hickman and Betty Briggs, brother, Keith and wife, Betty Chapman, daughter, Teresa and husband, Brad Jessee, and son, Stuart and wife, Melissa Chapman, grandchildren, Cody (Morgan), Cory (Katie), Casey (Amanda), Alyssa, and Hailey, two great-grandchildren, Avery and Barrett, special niece, Amy Hickman as well as sixteen other love nieces and nephews. And last but not least, his beloved cat, Kitty.
Funeral services were held on Friday, August 4, 2023, 10:00 a.m. at the Wray United Methodist Church in Wray, Colorado with Pastor Lisa Nordan officiating. Interment in the Glendale Cemetery in Vernon, Colorado. Memorials may be made to the Vernon Fire Department. Schmidt-Jones Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements.