RIP John Chappell
The Island Packet
March 10, 2015
John Fredrick Chappell Mr. John Fredrick Chappell passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home in Carthage, NC surrounded by family one week shy of his 76th birthday. He faced his illness bravely, with courage, dignity, and of course, a perfect cigar. John was a true inspiration, both in the way he lived, as well as the way he died.
Born in Winston-Salem, NC to Brownie and Fred Chappell, John spent his early childhood in Hemp, NC (now Robbins) then moved to Southern Pines at the age of 6. He went on to receive degrees from Wake Forest University, Southeastern Seminary, and Union Theological Seminary. John took an interest in the Civil Rights Movement after taking classes from his mentor, professor emeritus Dr. George McLeod Bryan at Wake Forest University. In 1968, Mr. Chappell married Laura Jordan, and moved to Atlanta to focus on grassroots organization for the movement. John was outspoken and dedicated to equality for all; he had a sense of responsibility to enlighten the world to a different perspective.
Although John had a true passion for the arts. He began performing magic at the age of 10, and participating in local theater as a student in high school. Mr. Chappell continued to mystify and bewilder audiences with his wonderful wizardry until his final days. He was involved with the Lost Colony summer production in Manteo, NC during the early 60's, an experience that cemented his love for live theater. John became well known for his one-man rendition of Mark Twain across the United States, performing the show for over 40 years. He also brought the show across the high seas during his tenure working for Royal Viking Line Cruises. Along with Mark Twain on Stage, John performed throughout the country as Clarence Darrow, Charles Dickens and Benjamin Franklin. He spent over two decades in Hollywood as an actor with parts in movies like "10", "Brubaker", "Nickelodeon", and series such as "The New WKRP in Cincinnati", "AfterMash" and "Simon and Simon" (produced by longtime friend Bill Dial).
During the early 1980's John married Katharine McLeod and decided after their only son was born in 1988, to settle down on the east coast again. John focused his later years on being a great father. In the mid 1990's Mr. Chappell took what he considered "his first real job" at IBM in Raleigh, NC as a thinkpad laptop technician. He enjoyed the new experience and after a few years took a job locally as a computer specialist for The Pilot Newspaper in Moore County. His duties at The Pilot progressed in the late 1990's to reporting after being a guest columnist for years. He had a 16 year career with the newspaper, and showcased his linguistic talent covering the northern area of Moore County and the courts in Carthage, NC. His influences in Moore County are numerous, including the formation of "Dark Park" in Robbins, and the county's relationship with the Hunan Province in China working alongside Sen. Harris Blake.
John was married in 2001 to Patricia Chappell. He had many accomplishments and was a true Renaissance man, from being a licensed minister, a teacher, reporter, Kentucky Colonel, philosopher, master magician, humorist and so much more. Mr. Chappell enjoyed new experiences and loved to travel. He was fascinated by everyone he encountered, and taught people to appreciate the unique perspectives of other's lives. During the last few months of his life he continued to perform magic, inspire others, and spend quality time with family, friends, and of course his beloved pets.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Chappell; son, John Andrew Bryan Chappell of Southern Pines; Sister Mary Elizabeth Ragsdale and brother-in-law Bernie Ragsdale of Beaufort, SC; brother George Chappell of Harriman, TN; and many loving nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandchildren and two step son. A memorial service will be held at the Sunrise Theater in downtown Southern Pines, Wednesday March 11th, 2015, from 1pm until 3pm. A private interment will be at a later time. Memorials, in lieu of flowers, are asked to be made to First Health Hospice in Pinehurst, NC or Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Carey, NC
CHAPPELL, John (John Frederick Chappell)
Born: 3/9/1939, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Died: 3/2/2015, Carthage, North Carolina, U.S.A.
John Chappell’s westerns – actor:
Hard Country (TV) – 1981 (Daddy)
Legend – 1995 (Lamar)