Mark Chapman dies at 71; Texas thrower was published poet

Mark Chapman

Mark Chapman

More suddenly than one would hope, Mark Chapman died Friday at his home in Cat Spring, Texas, reports Seth Brower, the Texas meet director. He suffered a major stroke only six days earlier. Seth sent me a biography. Funeral services will be held Monday, April 21, at St. John Lutheran Church in Cat Spring, Texas, with visitation immediately preceding the service from 1 to 3 p.m. Another service will be held in Clay Center, Kansas, at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 26. Visitation will be on April 25 from 5 to 8 P.M. Burial will be at the Broughton Cemetery, Clay County, Kansas. Our deepest condolences to a thrower who touched many lives.

Here’s what Seth sent:

MARK A. CHAPMAN died on April 18, 2014, at his home in Cat Spring, Texas. He was born on January 18, 1943, in Clay Center, Kansas, the son of Leo and Irene (McCully) Chapman. He grew up near Broughton, a small town 30 miles northwest of Manhattan, home of Kansas State University (KSU) where Mark earned bachelor’s degrees in 1965 in history and political science. As a student, he was involved in Army ROTC, Acacia fraternity, and athletics, including football and track.

After earning a Doctor of Jurisprudence at the University of Texas, Mark spent two years as a U.S. Army Signal Core officer stationed in Thailand. Upon discharge, he began real estate investing in Houston, Texas.

After the real estate market crashed, he entered the depressed oil and gas business with extensive use of credit cards. Eventually his oil and gas business prospered, and he began to purchase farmland in Kansas and Nebraska and was a savvy investor.

In the past decade he has been painting, contributing numerous works to KSU. Recently he published two books of poetry: “An Artist Writes” and “Like My First Book … Only Better.”

Mark was a member of St. John Lutheran Church in Cat Spring, TX, and the KSU Foundation President’s Club where he has been a donor to Kansas State for more than 25 years. His gifts have established the Chapman Center for Rural Studies in History, an art gallery in Willard Hall, and the Chapman Scholars program in the College of Arts & Sciences.

In addition to gifts to the Athletic Department (including the Coaches Workroom in the new Basketball Training Facility) and the Chapman-Mellenthin Plaza at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Mark supported two full-ride Presidential Scholarships. Most recently, he provided funds for the School of Music, Theatre and Dance to become an All-Steinway School. And one of his favorite projects was the transformation of the windows in the Great Room at K-State Libraries. He is a 2012 Alumni Fellow at KSU.

Further, the Mark A Chapman Foundation created by Mark independently funds approximately 100 scholarships annually in Kansas and Texas.

Mark frequently returned to Clay Center, Kansas, to visit his parents, friends and KSU. He held the Clay County High School shot put record for 47 years (1961-2008). In 2009 he was inducted into the Clay County High School’s HALL OF FAME for his generosity to Clay County and Kansas State.

He has been a major contributor to the Clay County Medical Center, including funding the Mark A Chapman Wellness Center. He has given scholarships to many Clay County High School graduates, to the Clay County Museum and to the Birger Sandzen Memorial Foundation.
Mark and his wife Cheryl Mellenthin made their home in Cat Spring, TX.

Mark is preceded in death by his mother, Irene Chapman. Survivors include:

Mark’s wife, Cheryl Mellenthin, Cat Spring, TX
his father, Leo Chapman, Clay Center, KS
his son, Carter Chapman, TX
his brother, Christopher Chapman, and partner Edee Medley, Richland, WA
his sister, Julie and husband Dennis Rice, Winfield, KS
his mother-in-law, Deloris Mellenthin, Beaver Dam, WI
his brother-in-law, James and wife Mary, Ripon, WI
his sister-in-law, Barbara and husband Dale Walker, Beaver Dam, WI
his nieces: Amy (Frank) Burns, children Otto & Hanna, Washington State; Lexi Giblin and daughter Ila, Washington State; Erin Mellenthin, Baltimore, MD; Michelle Mellenthin, Fort Collins, CO; Bonnie Walker and Billie Jean Walker, Beaver Dam, WI.
His nephews: Carl (Louise) Chapman of Iowa; Jesse (Jeri) Chapman, sons Elliot and Kyle, New York State; Bruce (Shelly)Walker, sons Bryce and Blayze, Beaver Dam, WI

Funeral services will be held on Monday, April 21 at St. John Lutheran Church in Cat Spring, TX. with visitation immediately preceding the service from 1 to 3 P.M. Another service will be held in Clay Center, Kansas, on Saturday, April 26 at 10 A.M. Visitation will be on April 25 from 5 to 8 P.M. Burial will be at the Broughton Cemetery, Clay County, Kansas.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to PUPS (Prevent Unwanted Pets), 1884 Bostik Road, Cat Spring, TX; ARTS (Arts for Rural Texas), P.O. Box 33, Fayetteville, TX 78940; the Sealy YMCA, 1000 Main St., Sealy, TX 77474; or the charity of your choice.

Print Friendly

April 19, 2014

4 Responses

  1. Lindy Raney - April 19, 2014

    RIP Mark. From this report it is clear Mark led a great life and gave back generously.

  2. Charles Thielemann - April 19, 2014

    Mark was the most generous person I have known. He truly was an exceptional person. It was a privilege to have known him. I believe he will long be remembered and honored for what did for the youth at St. John Lutheran , Cat Spring, Texas.

  3. John Stilbert - April 21, 2014

    I attended the funeral service this afternoon, and it was a fitting tribute to a real 21st century Renaissance man. It’s difficult to overstate the wide range of influence Mark had over so many people. Even the preacher remarked in his comments, that in conversations with Mark he was moved to re-examine his faith experienced what he called a second “conversion”. RIP Mark Chapman. You made a big difference, and you will be missed.

  4. Robin Hanson - May 14, 2014

    I am from Clay Center and know personally of his generosity. He will surely be missed. RIP, Mark.

Leave a Reply