Dick Chapman P ’76, ‘78 (Physical Education 1958-1966 and 1967-1982) passed away on March 12, 2021.
Whenever Dick spoke of his time at Harley, he always had a big smile and was full of enthusiasm and stories. He felt a true connection to the students, the faculty, and the staff that he worked with. In 2019, thanks to a gift from alumnus, Kraig Kayser ’78, Harley dedicated the hallway leading to the Peckham Wellness Center in honor of him and his colleague Bob Joslyn P ’80, ’83 (Physical Education 1969-1996). He was unable to attend the event, but was able to participate in the ceremony through a “Skype” video call. It was an emotional time and he was excited, following the ceremony, to connect with some of his former students in attendance.
Dick’s passing was felt by all who knew him. Here are some memories and stories from former students and colleagues:
Margot Townsend Young ’64: I remember when Jim and I were at reunion and had a video call with Dick. He was a huge gift to Harley, and Harley to him. Even those of us not among his ‘gennulmen’ knew he was great.
Laura Grossman Fukunishi ’63: I was thinking about him a few days ago. Being still busy with work and starting on tax stuff, I again put off writing to him. I deeply regret that decision. Now, I have lost forever the joy of hearing his opinions and advice. But I can hear the sound of his voice, a very distinctive one, with an ever-so-slight drawl that caused his speech to be a wink slower than other teachers’, really comfortable on the ears. For me, the mixture of well-organized information, tough love, and sometimes bashful joking was just right. And such clear-seeing eyes. I’ll keep the memories and voice. Thank you, Mr. Chapman. Love, Laura ’63
Jonathan Feltner ’63: Thank you for your note on the passing of Dick Chapman. A tremendous loss for the world, but a life well lived.
Tim Golan ’63: Yesterday I was driving by Dick’s old house (built in 1808) on Rush Mendon Rd and was wondering if Dick had died in the past few days. Now I know. Very sad for me. He was a major part of my life—teacher, coach, but more so boss/co-worker and tennis partner.
Geoff Perry ’67: Very sad. He made a bigger impression on me than any other faculty member at Harley!! I still think of him often.
Tom Toole (Mathematics, 1963-66, Head of the Upper School, 1966-1981): Dick was at Harley when I arrived there for my first teaching job in 1963. We quickly became good friends. More importantly, he became a mentor to me. We occasionally disagreed, but I always valued his advice and respected his point of view, a relationship that continued even when I became Upper School Head a few years later. Dick played a large part in the transformation of Harley that Steve Hinrichs led.
John Gardner ’70: Dick Chapman was a good man who was so helpful in the huge expansion of the school’s athletic facilities in the late 60s.
Tom White ’65: Coach Chapman was a significant figure in my high school days at Harley. A fantastic soccer and baseball coach, and he taught me, Marc Smith ’65, and others how to be professional painters, a skill I’ve used my whole life. He was also a man of integrity and character who shaped the character and habits of us wild teens.
He and Leonard Opdyke (English and Head of Middle School, 1956-64) are the two most significant mentors from Harley that invested significantly in my journey.
Lucinda Stewart Carnahan ’63: I remember Mr. Chapman very fondly for his zest and enthusiasm and love for his students.
Jim Bullard ’63: He had an enormous impact on his athletes as a humble, principled, disciplinarian whom we all needed.
Lydia Zartman (unknown): Coach used to drive my brothers and sisters to Harley in the morning before Rush Henrietta provided bus service to private school students living in the Rush Henrietta School District.
Eric G Blackman ’86: Some features of his Middle School gym classes that may have been unusual at the time, and reflected a thoughtful educator, have long stayed in my memory. For each sport, we had essentially a mini-league in that sport. He would act as a referee/umpire and the commissioner for the sport of the unit. Teams were picked discretely in writing with captains in his office, not in the “playground” way in person. Most unusual, perhaps, was that he allowed formal written challenges to the commissioner (him) if a student/team disagreed with the decision of the e.g. umpire (him) in a particular circumstance. If the commissioner agreed with the formal written challenge, he would grant a suitable replay.
Robert Levis ’68: Thanks for passing on this sad news. I played on JV soccer, basketball, and baseball teams that he coached. Although I wasn’t particularly good, I really enjoyed playing sports and learned a lot from Coach, particularly in basketball.
Doug Gilbert ’87: And oh, did we spend time on the rosters for his leagues! BTW, anybody seen my dark brown Macgregor lefty mitt? I lost it probably in about 1981, probably behind the Field House.
Larry Lunt ’71: I am happy to have known Dick and sorry that his family has now lost him. He was a big part of my life for 4 years—the athletic department was home 10-20 hours a week the full school year.
Amanda Morrice McBride ’87: So sorry to hear of his passing. Great man and such an asset to Harley.
Jerry Hamza ’81: Dick was a good guy, great physical education teacher and boss. I folded a lot of towels for him.
David Shechter ’86: I enjoyed gym class with him. He was my modified basketball coach also. I was sad to see him leave in’82. It saddens my heart to see that he has passed away.
Oliver Cashman-Brown ’85: He was an important mentor to me when I started at Harley. An invaluable part of the faculty.
Richard W. Chapman, 85, formally from Rochester, New York passed away March 12, 2021 surrounded by his loving family after a short illness at home. Richard was born in Niagara Falls, NY in 1935.
Richard attended Springfield College in Mass, earning his Bachelor’s of Science in 1958. He spent many years as a teacher, coach, and Athletic Director at the Harley School in Rochester, New York, where he was recognized and honored for his and outstanding teaching and coaching service. Richard married the love of his life, Linda J Avery, on June 9th 1984, spending 36 wonderful years together. He was very proud of his family and spent much time with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He loved gospel music, the color blue, and playing tennis with his buddies, He enjoyed evenings sitting out by the pond sharing a glass of wine with friends and family. Richard will be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather as well as an inspiration to the many students he touched while teaching and coaching. His favorite quote is ” If you sail big ships, you have to go in deep water.” He did, indeed, live life to the fullest. Richard is survived by his wife, Linda J Chapman, sister Jeanne Noble, his children James, Holly, Melinda, Christine and Clinton, his grandchildren Justine, Gabriel, Abbie, Edgar, Cassandra, Jake, Zachary, and great grandchildren; Evan, Easton, Kamaz, Skye, and Josh Jr. Richard was preceded in death by his parents Alan T Chapman, Harriet E Chapman and his brother, Ted and daughter Karen.
In lieu of flowers the family ask that donations be made to the Harley School in Rochester, New York or Hospice of Marion County in Florida. Cards and memories can be sent to his family at:
Mrs. Richard Chapman
13510 SE 93rd Court Road
Summerfield Florida 34491