Richard M. Chapman, businessman, woodworker, skier, and sailor

Richard M. Chapman, 1937 to 2020.

On April 29, 2020, Richard (“Dick”) Maurice Chapman passed away at McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester, Vermont at age 83. He will be remembered for his many accomplishments, foremost being a devoted husband to his wife of 60 years, Nancy, and a dedicated father to their three daughters, Betsy, Annie and Miranda.

Dick was born on January 14, 1937 in Yonkers, New York. He was a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering (1958) and a Master of Science in Materials Science (1961). He began his career at IBM in Fishkill, New York and relocated with his family to Vermont in July 1971 to manage IBM’s Essex Junction chip-making plant.

From IBM, he continued in management, serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Chittenden Bank in Burlington. Dick subsequently worked for the State of Vermont as secretary of administration for Governor Richard Snelling, where he co-chaired a commission that studied the economic future of Vermont, authoring “Pathways to Prosperity.” The last years of his career he spent as president and chief executive officer of Vermont Electric Power Company, Inc. (VELCO) in Rutland where he, as he liked to say, “kept the lights on.” While at VELCO, he testified before Congress on regional utility issues in 1996 and served on the executive committees of the New England Power Pool and Northeast Power Coordination Council, representing New England. Throughout his career in Vermont he also supported regional business initiatives, as president of Associated Industries of Vermont, director of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, chairman and founder of the Vermont Business Roundtable, and director of the New England Council.

Moving to Vermont was a defining event for Dick and his family. They settled first in the Crescent Beach area of Burlington where he made friends with neighbors who enjoyed Lake Champlain as much as he did. He raced his O’Day Day Sailer, “No Tea for Me,” in Appletree Bay with his daughters and enjoyed peaceful evening paddles in his Mansfield canoe. Later he co-owned a 30-foot Hunter sailboat, “Fantastic,” with good friends, which they moored at the Shelburne Shipyard.

Sailing was just one of Dick’s many hobbies, most of which were self-taught and all of which he practiced with great enthusiasm and mastery. He was a skilled woodworker, known for his Chippendale furniture reproductions and mantlepiece clocks. Many of his pieces were placed around his homes, first in Burlington, then in a 1792 Federal-style farmhouse on Cheesefactory Road, and eventually in South Burlington overlooking the Vermont National Golf Course with a stunning view of Camel’s Hump. Together with Nancy, he took meticulous care of their homes and gardens. He loved growing vegetables and flowers, especially roses and in his later years he enjoyed tending orchids.

Most winter weekends Dick found a way to go alpine or cross-country skiing. He usually caught the first chairlift on Saturday mornings at Sugarbush or Stowe, and he and Nancy would go cross-country skiing just about anywhere they could lay fresh tracks. He played tennis at the Burlington Tennis Club and the former Twin Oaks, and golf at the Vermont National Country Club where he was a founding member and proudly part of the longest-standing foursome on the course. He was also an avid fly fisherman who tied his own flies and was happy just to be on the river whether in Colorado, Alaska, Nova Scotia, or at home in Vermont where he belonged to the Lake Mansfield Trout Club.

In his retirement he took up oil painting with a playful style that represented the joy he saw in nature and places that were special to him, such as Vermont and Vero Beach, Florida, where he and Nancy owned a home. Most importantly he shared his hobbies with his daughters and grandchildren, who carry on his legacy in various ways.

Dick gave back to his community by serving on the board of the Greater Burlington YMCA, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Alliance for Literacy, as director of the Chittenden County United Way, Chairman of the Vermont Community Foundation, and as a trustee of the University of Vermont (UVM) Medical Center. He also volunteered his time in the emergency room at the Vero Beach hospital and UVM Medical Center.


Family Information

Richard (“Dick”) Maurice Chapman was predeceased by his father Richard Whitby Chapman and his mother Suzette Francfort Chapman Bokelmann. He is survived by his wife Nancy Ferguson Chapman of Shelburne, Vermont. He is also survived by his daughter Nancy “Betsy” Chapman Patrick, her husband Rufus Patrick, of Hinesburg, Vermont, and their children Amy Patrick of Hinesburg, Vermont and Margaret (“Meg”) Bouchard and her husband Nick Bouchard of Westerly, Rhode Island; daughter, Anne Gordon Chapman and her husband Brent Gardner-Smith of Basalt, Colorado, and Brent’s son Austin Gardner-Smith and his wife Kelly Gardner-Smith and their three children of Hingham, Massachusetts; and daughter, Miranda Whitby Chapman, her husband Michael Albrecht, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and her children Alexander (“Alex”) Schneider and Emily (“Emi”) Schneider. He is also survived by his sister Colette Chapman Ozarowski, her husband Peter Ozarowski of South Burlington, Vermont, and their four children.


Submitted by:

Brent Gardner-Smith
[email protected]