Elizabeth W Chapman
January 7, 1935 – August 14, 2019
Elizabeth “Betsy” Waterfield Chapman. Betsy was the music and the flowers of life. On August 14, 2019, she departed this life and passed into the arms of God. Heaven has always had music and flowers; today, it has more. She was eighty four years old.
She was born and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, attended South Side High School, graduating with honors, and was elected to National Honor Society. In 2001, she received the Archer Award as an outstanding alumna of South Side. She maintained close friendships with many of her high school classmates throughout her life.
She enrolled at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, where she met and married her husband, Howard. After pausing in her collegiate career to raise a family, she returned to the campus of Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), which is now Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW). At the age of 39, she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in English by Indiana University.
Betsy was an accomplished musician and pianist who shared her talent throughout Fort Wayne. She was an accompanist for various vocal performers and singing groups. She also provided the musical accompaniment for numerous musical productions produced at Arena Theatre, Fort Wayne Youtheatre, and First Presbyterian Theatre.
Her list of credits includes two of her favorites, Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music," and Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate." With Nancy Carlson Dodd, she co-authored three musical plays for children. One of these plays, "The Magic Pebble," has been published by the Samuel French Company. It, and the other two plays, "Mountain Molly" and "The Magnificent Plan," have been performed many times locally and nationally.
An active member of the IPFW community, Betsy served for many years on the Omnibus Lecture Series Committee, the organization charged with obtaining speakers and organizing programs in connection with the Omnibus Lecture Series that is presented annually at the campus. She also served as a member of the board of trustees of The IPFW Foundation. As a director of Waterfield Mortgage Company, she participated in the decision by that organization to provide the funding for IPFW’s on-campus housing. Betsy and Howard also created the first full professorship chair at IPFW, The Distinguished Professor of English.
Betsy was always a great believer and an advocate for education, and she and Howard supported ongoing student scholarships, both at IPFW, and also at Northwestern University. In 2004, she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree, Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by Purdue University.
Betsy participated in numerous Fort Wayne community and charitable organizations. She served on the boards of directors of many of them, including the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Volunteers, the Fort Wayne Civic Theater, the Fort Wayne Junior League, and Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne. She was also a director of Easter Seals ARC of Northeast Indiana, Inc., The Allen County Public Library Foundation, and The Waterfield Foundation. She was an advisory trustee of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. She also served as a member of the Advisory Committee for IPFW’s College of Arts and Sciences, Fort Wayne Museum of Art Alliance, Morning Musicale, YWCA Advisory Board, Indiana Law Wives, Junior League Garden Club, Parents and Friends of the State Developmental Center, and three literary clubs. In addition, she was an active and loyal supporter of her college sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.
She faithfully attended First Presbyterian Church of Fort Wayne since her childhood. She was a Jubilee Member (50-year member), and served as an elder and former member of the session of that church. She often contributed her musical talents for church services and church events, including providing musical accompaniment for religious services at nursing homes.
She was an avid reader and traveler, and an enthusiastic golfer and tennis player. She had a keen interest in, and close relationship with, Fort Wayne's Sister Cities Program, and valued many friendships among those she met in exchanges with Fort Wayne's Sister Cities. With her husband, she established the Chapman Exchange Students Fund within the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne to provide assistance in academic and cultural exchanges between young people in Fort Wayne and its Sister Cities, and have otherwise supported the Community Foundation to sustain various charitable groups that serve the Fort Wayne area. With all of her community involvement and all of her other activities, family was always foremost in Betsy’s life. She was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, and her love was warmly returned by all of them. She is survived by her husband, Howard Chapman, two sons, Stephen L Chapman and John W. Chapman, and three grandsons, Stephen D. Chapman, James H Chapman and Daniel P. Chapman. She is also survived by her sister, Frances (Peter Smith) LeMay, her brother Richard D. (Marni) Waterfield, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws, and she dearly loved all of them.
There will be a private burial service for the family. A public memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 24, 2019, at First Presbyterian Church, 300 West Wayne Street, in Fort Wayne. The memorial service will be followed by a reception at Fort Wayne Country Club.
Preferred memorials, in lieu of flowers, may be made to First Presbyterian Church, Easter Seals ARC of Northeast Indiana, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, or to a charity of donor’s choice.
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
First Presbyterian church
300 W. Wayne St.
- Preferred Memorial
Elizabeth W Chapman
Richard R Waterfield
August 15, 2019
I have so many wonderful memories of Aunt Betsy: Christmas Carols at Grandma Waterfield’s house (with Betsy on the piano), holidays at The Chapman’s, the list goes on and on...She taught me piano! We all loved her dearly, and love her still.