FITCHBURG—Roger Parshall Chapman, age 78, passed away peacefully on July 5, 2019, at Agrace in Fitchburg.
Roger was born in Eau Claire, Wis., on June 25, 1941, a son of Jean and Margaret (Sweeney) Chapman. His parents and brother Gordon preceded him in death. He is survived by his brother Rick (Mary), St. John’s, Fla., Rick’s son Sean (Janelle), Lexington, Ky., Rick’s daughter Michelle del Pino (Javier), Jacksonville, Fla., Sean’s and Michelle’s children, several cousins, and many friends. Roger’s father died in 1951, and Roger was especially grateful to his mother for having worked thereafter as a school teacher to support him and his brothers.
Roger’s education was in parochial and public schools. He graduated from Evansville, Wis. High School in 1959 and the UW-Madison in 1964. At the UW he was influenced and inspired by, among others, geographers Vaughn Porter Manley and Prof. Kirk Stone. Roger thought public schools were excellent and opposed public money going to religious or other private schools.
Roger as a boy dreamed of work he would do when he grew up. Opportunities came that led to exciting projects for him at the UW-Madison, in business, and in Wisconsin state government. Roger worked at Evansville’s Rex Theater. There his boss, Rudy Schultes, encouraged him and made him a projectionist. That led to jobs for Roger as a projectionist while he was an undergrad at the UW and a computer systems analyst in the UW graduate school. When the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) became law in 1971, Roger designed and became a project leader of Wisconsin’s OSHA system. Roger’s youthful dreams of work he would do very much came true.
Based on his experience, Roger thought a broad liberal arts education, rather than one focused on computer science, was best for a computer systems designer.
After Roger was disabled by an accident, George Szasz, MD, gave him good advice regarding rehabilitation and living a full and active life. Roger followed this advice unrelentingly.
Roger’s six years as a young adult in the Army Reserves made him a leftist. He became a political activist in his later years. He was a person of action, not merely words. He was a member of the Democratic and Socialist Parties and several public interest organizations. In 2003, he was honored as an extraordinary activist by the Coalition for Wisconsin Health.
Roger’s life, like those of millions of others, was needlessly cut short by the profit-driven healthcare and eldercare systems that plague the United States.
Overall, life was a great adventure for Roger, and he was an inspiration for all who knew and worked with him.
A private celebration of Roger’s life has been held. Other celebrations are being arranged with the Madison Society of Friends and Madison’s First Unitarian Society.
To view and sign this guestbook, please visit: www.ryanfuneralservice.com.
Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services
2418 N. Sherman Ave.