Those who knew Linda Kay Chapman remember her as a Scrabble expert, garage sale enthusiast and, most importantly, a woman with an open heart to all.
Mrs. Chapman dedicated her life to taking care of others, whether they were children or adults, her friends and family said. She always thought about how she could make someone else’s day better.
“She was more worried about everyone else than she ever worried about herself,” her sister Maria Begemann said. “She put everybody in front.”
Everybody was good in Mrs. Chapman’s eyes, Begemann said. And the thoughtful ways she communicated with and looked after others radiated that mindset.
Mrs. Chapman, 73, died Saturday in her home in Hallsville.
Born in Columbia in 1945, Mrs. Chapman went on to live in the area nearly her whole life. She married her husband, Philip Chapman, in 1965 and was completely in love with him, Begemann said. They were “two peas in a pod.”
“That was her dream: marry the prince, and have the children,” she said.
Having always enjoyed taking care of others, Mrs. Chapman began a day care in her home while her own kids were still young. In 1978, one of her close friends, Enid Clark, asked Mrs. Chapman to watch her son while she was at work.
One day, a fire started in Mrs. Chapman’s home while she was watching a few children, including Clark’s son. She got everyone out of the house just before it was destroyed, Clark said.
When Clark looked back and thought about the fire, she knew that, without Mrs. Chapman’s instincts, the lives of Clark and her family could have been very different had her son died that day.
“That’s just the kind of person she was,” Clark said. “She wouldn’t think about herself or what she might need out of that house. She just thought of him.”
After Mrs. Chapman’s kids grew up, she decided to stop the day care and turned to taking care of other adults in their homes during the day. And then, when her mother-in-law needed help, Mrs. Chapman decided to bring her home and started taking care of her, as well, Begemann said.
Everybody close to Mrs. Chapman knew that her family was one of the most important things to her. Growing up, Mrs. Chapman was very close to her aunt, Begemann said. That early relationship was what heavily influenced her connections with family members later in her life.
“All she ever knew of how family was,” Begemann said, “was close.”
In recent years, Mrs. Chapman got involved with MU Adult Day Connection, a program that provides adults with activities and exercises. She used to visit three times a week but more recently had to limit her time to Fridays, said Carolyn Anderson, a friend of Mrs. Chapman and the connection’s health care program specialist.
Anderson remembered Mrs. Chapman for her fun-loving personality and spontaneity. Whether it was an unplanned drive for hot chocolates or getting soaked in the fountains at Stephens Lake Park, Mrs. Chapman was always up for anything, Anderson said.
On her days at Adult Day Connection, Mrs. Chapman spent her time talking with the other clients or filling up a Scrabble board, Anderson said, calling herself a “Scrabble victim” to Mrs. Chapman’s expertise in the game.
One of Mrs. Chapman’s other friends, Marsha Dotson, who also works at Adult Day Connection, remembered that, whenever Mrs. Chapman got little gifts or coupons in the mail, she would always bring them in to share with the other clients.
“She was always thinking of things that she could help and be giving to others,” she said.
Supervising editor is Sky Chadde.