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Mark Chapman

By The Mercury

Mark A. Chapman died Friday at his home in Cat Spring, Texas.

The family provided some of the following information.

He was born Jan. 18, 1943, in Clay Center, the son of Leo and Irene (McCully) Chapman. He grew up near Broughton, a small town 30 miles northwest of Manhattan, and earned bachelor’s degrees in 1965 in history and political science from Kansas State University.  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.  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 K-State.  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, Texas, and the KSU Foundation President’s Club where he has been a donor to K-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 and 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. 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 K-State.  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 to visit his parents, friends and K-State.  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 K-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, Texas.

Mark is preceded in death by his mother, Irene Chapman.  Survivors include: Mark’s wife, Cheryl, of the home; father, Leo Chapman, Clay Center; his son, Carter Chapman, Texas; brother, Christopher Chapman and partner Edee Medley, Richland, Wash.; sister, Julie and husband Dennis Rice, Winfield; mother-in-law, Deloris Mellenthin, Beaver Dam, Wis.; brother-in-law, James and wife Mary, Ripon, Wis.; sister-in-law, Barbara and husband Dale Walker, Beaver Dam, Wis.; nieces, Amy (Frank) Burns and children Otto & Hanna, Washington state; Lexi Giblin and daughter Ila, Washington state; Erin Mellenthin, Baltimore, Md.; Michelle Mellenthin, Fort Collins, Colo.; Bonnie Walker and Billie Jean Walker, Beaver Dam, Wis.; nephews, Carl (Louise) Chapman of Iowa; Jesse (Jeri) Chapman and sons Elliot and Kyle, New York state; and Bruce (Shelly)Walker and sons Bryce and Blayze, Beaver Dam, Wis.

Funeral services will be Monday, April 21 at St. John Lutheran Church in Cat Spring, Texas with visitation immediately preceding the service from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Another service will be held in Clay Center on Saturday, April 26 at 10 a.m. Visitation will be on April 25 at Neill-Schwenson-Rook Funeral Home from 6 p.m. to 8 pm in Clay Center.  Burial will be at the Broughton Cemetery, Clay County.

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

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