A Life Worth Remembering: Mary Ida Chapman, 101
Mary Ida Chapman, of Oak Lawn, celebrated her 101st birthday two days after Christmas last December.
Mary Ida Chapman (nee Stafford) was one of those people who took what life gave her and made the best of it.
As a college student during the Great Depression, Mary Ida Stafford did what she needed to do to stay in school, even if that meant washing dishes, said Pastor Peggy McClanahan of Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ in Oak Lawn.
“She played in the band when she was in college,” McClanahan said. “One time she told me that the girls in the band had to stay in the bleachers when the band performed on the field during halftime of football games.
“She wasn’t angry that she wasn’t allowed on the field,” McClanahan said. “Instead, she was grateful because being in the band allowed her to travel and visit other places and schools she wouldn’t have been able to visit. That’s the kind of lady she was.”
Mrs. Chapman, of Oak Lawn, who celebrated her 101st birthday last Dec. 27, died on Aug. 10.
Mrs. Chapman and her husband, the late Deo Chapman, moved to Oak Lawn about 1940. They worked together at his company, which built homes in Oak Lawn, Worth and Orland Park.
“Dad built the homes and Mom ran the office and showed homes,” said her son Donald Chapman, who is executive director of the PLOWS Council on Aging in Palos Heights. Chapman said he worked for the family business for a short time in the early 1970s.
Besides being a mother, wife and business partner, Mrs. Chapman volunteered her time to her church and to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn.
“She talked to me once about going door-to-door to solicit donations when Christ Hospital was being built,” said McClanahan.
Her son said Mrs. Chapman was a member of the hospital auxiliary from its beginning and she was very involved in running the hospital’s gift shop over the years.
“I remember the sparkle in her eye,” said McClanahan. “One Christmas she was at a gift exchange for one of the church’s women’s organizations. Everyone could take a gift off of a table or nab one from someone else.
“Everyone was very polite and kept taking gifts from the table, until it was Mary Ida’s turn. She slowly approached one of the women and took her gift away from her.
“That was when the fun started. She was the one who broke the ice. That’s the kind of lady she was.”
Survivors include two sons, Donald and Jon, both of Oak Lawn; a daughter, Cozanne Jenkins of California; seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were Aug. 20 with Zimmerman & Sandeman in Oak Lawn.
Memorials may be made in her honor to the Operating Fund at Pilgrim Faith Church.