February has been a tough month, as we received news of the passing of yet another alumnus. Calvin Chapman DS’43 died on February 23, 2014, in Novato, California after 86 years of adventure and making the world a better place. Reared in Berkeley, California by Cal & Jane Chapman, he attended Berkeley High. He came to Deep Springs with the entering class in the summer of 1943, but decided to return to Berkeley in the fall. He attended University of California at Berkeley for a semester, and subsequently Yale University thanks to winning a scholarship competition from the 11 westernmost states and territories of Hawaii and Alaska. After graduation from Yale, he worked first as a lumberjack in southeast Alaska, then as an industrial engineer for Union Carbide and later for Boeing Aircraft Corporation.
In 1950 “Doc” (as he was affectionately known) met Imogene, a United Airlines stewardess and Denver native, on a blind date in Seattle, Washington. They married in 1956 and had five children. During their marriage, Doc graduated from University of Rochester with a Doctor of Medicine, became an Air Force lieutenant, and entered the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. Over the next 20-plus years, he worked as an Air Force flight surgeon, hospital commander, and command surgeon for the Air Force Security Service. One of the most rewarding duty tours was a year at Bien Hoa, Viet Nam. Working as dispensary commander and leading a volunteer medical service effort for Vietnamese villagers, Doc Chapman earned another nickname, “Jungle Doctor.” He personally treated over 20,000 Vietnamese while in country, during his off hours.
After retirement as a full colonel, Cal became a specialist in emergency medicine, becoming board-certified at age 60 and passing “the boards” again at 70. Working in emergency rooms, and directing hospital-wide emergency medicine programs, he provided ER care to thousands more people until the age of 75. At that point, he moved into “locus tenens” family practice, no longer working 24 hours straight or more (!), on ER shifts. Towns in which he worked included San Antonio, Sterling City, Weimar, Coleman, Abilene, Monahans, and Tenaha, all in Texas, a couple in Oklahoma, and the Lafayette, Indiana area.
Doc’s and Imogene’s five children all survive their parents, along with nine wonderful grandchildren. Imogene, a professional musician, passed away in 2012. Cal went back to work one last time at a family practice job in Indiana, finishing that stint in late May 2013. By his estimate, Doc provided medical care to more than 110,000 individual patients in his 55-year career. Known to his DS classmates as “Cal”, he is remembered as a good and gentle person – someone who embodied the Nunnian ideal of service throughout his life.