OraLee Chapman

Born on October 12, 1922

Departed on July 20, 2016

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Ora Lee S. Chapman, 93, departed this life on July 20, 2016 to be with her heavenly Father. Born on October 12, 1922 in Richwood, WV, she was preceded in death by her devoted husband of 71 years, Ainslee H. (Ike) Chapman.  She is survived by her children, Linda Hale(Ben), Melodie White(Tray), and Tom Chapman(Kris), 7 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren.  She lived in several towns in West Virginia as a young woman but spent the greater portion of her life in Charleston, WV.

As a child of the Great Depression, she was born into modest means. After finishing school, she married Ike, her high school sweetheart in December 1941. After Pearl Harbor, Ike departed for active duty with the Navy, and OraLee moved to North Carolina to stay with her parents. After the hardships and separations imposed by World War II, she pursued her first role in life as a stay-at-home Mom to raise a family and provide her children with love, security, and guidance. All through this family-centered time, OraLee became a master chef, learned tailoring, and upholstery and the basics of home decorating. She already knew how to garden, can food and to sew a wardrobe for her girls. In her spare time, she led a cub scout den, sewed choir robes for church, and cooked for the church senior citizens until well into her eighties.

As her children grew older, she decided that she wanted to go back to school to obtain a college degree and become a first grade school teacher. She graduated with honors and went on to teach first grade in the Kanawha County (WV) public school system for 18 years until she retired.  The same impact she had on her own children, touched countless other young lives. Along the way she returned to school and obtained a Masters of Education degree. This commitment to education inspired all three of her children to obtain graduate degrees. She was a role model for never being too old to pursue your dreams!

She was a woman of strong faith and a lifelong member of the Baptist Church. For over 50 years she and Ike were active in Calvary Baptist Church (Charleston, WV) and were involved in many of the outreach ministries and volunteer activities of that church.

In 2006, she moved to Nashville, TN with her husband to be closer to family.  They came to love the Nashville area and especially the caring people of their new church home, Bellevue Baptist Church.  She was truly an extraordinary person who lived an extraordinary life. She was loved by family and friends and will be sorely missed.

A memorial service will be held at Bellevue Baptist Church on Highway 70 at 3:00pm on Saturday, July 23.  Visitation will precede the service at the church at 1:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, family requests donations to Bellevue Baptist Church and the Bellevue J.L. Turner Center affiliated with the Bellevue YMCA.


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