HOMER, Alaska - John Cundy Chapple Jr., 90, began his last marathon to God's Golden Shore on June 23, 2012.
Mr. Chapple was born on June 5, 1922, in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He grew up and attended school in Saranac Lake, where his mother was curing from tuberculosis. He graduated from Saranac Lake High School in 1941, and attended Hobart College majoring in meteorology. He was an avid runner, as well as a downhill and cross-country skier.
John enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1943 and spent two years in the North Atlantic. He was a chief aerographer's mate on a weather (decoy) ship assisting convoy traffic during World War II. His service in this capacity began a lifelong interest in tracking and recording the daily weather.
Returning home from the war, John married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Schreiner. They moved to Lake Placid, where they raised five children. John opened the Adirondack Liquor Store, which he owned and operated for over 30 years. He was involved in community activities as well as local politics. He was a member of the Elks Lodge Club 1508, the VFW Post 3357, and the Lions Club of Lake Placid. He was also a 4th degree Knight of Columbus in St. Agnes Catholic Church.
In 1980, John and Betty decided to move to Alaska to join their children who had moved up there over the years. After working briefly at Prudhoe Bay, John worked for Leo Rollins Crane Service and as a watchman at Alaskan Seafoods. He made friends with all those he came in contact with, from maintenance staff to management alike.
John was as active in community activities in Homer as he had been Lake Placid. He was a member of St. John's Catholic Church, the Lions Club, the American Legion, as well as treasurer of the Homer Elks Club. He enjoyed politicking with friends, league bowling and exploring the great outdoors of Alaska. He hiked trails and mountains across Kachemak Bay, and canoed and portaged lakes around the Kenai Peninsula. His running career was life-long and included years of participation in the Boston Marathon as well as races in New York City, Buffalo, Montreal and other areas. His positive spirit and enthusiasm for running were an inspiration to all. A dedicated sports fan, John followed all kinds of professional sports, and he particularly enjoyed attending the many local athletic events of his active grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He always had encouraging words for people, and he connected with and respected all athletes for taking on a challenge, no matter what their fitness level or goals.
Nothing was more important to John than his family and friends. He was a true gentleman and lived by the Golden Rule. People from all walks of life were beneficiaries of his generosity and compassion. His genuine concern for others extended to all God's creatures, evident by the bowls of water placed below his mailbox and faithfully refilled for dogs running by his home on the bike path.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth (Betty) Chapple; sister, Jane Potter; and daughter, Victoria Chapple.
He is survived by his daughter, Rebecca Sawyer of Lake Placid; son and daughter-in-law, John (Bumper) and Peggy Chapple of Homer, Alaska; daughter Alex Chapple of Palmer, Alaska; daughter Jessica Chapple of Clark Fork, Idaho; brother-in-law Don Potter of Clinton, N.Y.; cousin Rena Dempsey of Accord, N.Y.; nieces, nephews and 11 grandchildren, including John Chapple IV; 13 great-grandchildren, including John Chapple V; and two great-great-grandchildren.
Memorial services were held in Homer, Alaska on July 2. Mr Chapple was buried next to his beloved wife and daughter at Hickerson Memorial Cemetery in Homer. Condolences and special memories can be shared with the Chapple Family at P.O. Box 1201, Homer, Alaska 99603.