With great sadness, I must pass on the news that Paul Chapin, one of the members of this site’s community through the diary’s first “go round” passed away on 1 July 2015.

I met Paul almost a decade ago, when he visited London, and I believe a few others did at the Massachusetts get-together to mark the end of the diary. I’m sure many of us, whether we were fortunate enough to meet him in person or not, will be saddened by this news and be sending our thoughts and sympathies to his family.

Paul’s son John passed on the news with these words:

[My father] deeply enjoyed his participation in the Pepys diary community. He would bring up references to interesting things he had learned there just about every time I visited him in the last decade. It was meaningful enough for him that we included it in the obituary.

And here is Paul Chapin’s obituary:

Dr. Paul Gipson Chapin died July 1, 2015 in Tucson, AZ from Acute Myeloid Leukemia aged 76. Born December 27, 1938, in El Paso Texas, son of John Letcher Chapin and Velma Gipson Chapin. Married March 10, 1962 to Susan Levy of New York, his beloved spouse of 53 years who survives him and will continue to reside in Tucson, AZ. Other survivors are: sister Clare Ratliff of Santa Fe, NM; children Ellen Endress of Beltsville, MD, John Chapin of Alexandria, VA, Robin Chapin of Honolulu, HI, and Noelle Green of Sherman Oaks, CA; and grandchildren Kasey Chapin of Woodland, WA and Malia Green of Sherman Oaks, CA.

Dr. Chapin received his B.A. from Drake University in 1960 and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967 as a student of Noam Chomsky. He served as Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Diego from 1967-1975 and as Program Officer for Linguistics at the National Science Foundation from 1975-1999. After retiring from the NSF in 2001 he served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Linguistic Society of America from 2008-2013. He was elected a fellow of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Association for Psychological Sciences.

Dr. Chapin had a lifelong love of music, as a flute player, a singer, and in retirement serving on the board of the Desert Chorale in Santa Fe, NM. He enjoyed great food whether high cuisine or ethnic. He could always tell you where and when he had eaten his favorite version of any particular dish. He found most published crossword puzzles too easy. He collaborated with an online community from 2003-2012 to follow the Samuel Pepys diary on a day for day basis.

Family and friends remember Dr. Chapin for his deep caring for others and his lifelong commitment to social progress. He will be sorely missed.

Memorial donations may be made to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.

I’ll end with part of one of Paul’s final annotations, which he posted when we reached the end of the diary in 2012:

Many have amply and justly lauded Phil for making this adventure happen, and Terry for filling in so many blanks. In farewell to our happy band of time travelers, I’d like to give a shout out to a few annotators who have not been so widely mentioned, but who have added immensely to the pleasure of this journey and its value as a learning experience:

  • Michael Robinson, bibliographer extraordinary
  • Mary, whose brief contributions revealed her wealth of historical and linguistic knowledge
  • Language Hat, with whom I had the fun of debating several issues that only linguists could love
  • Australian Susan, for buoyant good humor and vast understanding of the religious milieu of SP’s life
  • Glyn, whose walking tours were my guides during my visit to London at the diary’s midpoint
  • Jeannine, for her wonderful sidebar essays
  • Our inimitable (in the strictest sense of the word) man of many monikers, Michael Vincent (CGS, IAS, etc., etc.), who shared with us his experiences of a world in some ways closer to Sam’s than our own, in a delightfully eccentric prose style. Language Hat aptly said of him, “I may not understand all the words, but I sure like the music.”

Thanks to all for an experience I’ll never forget. And now, adieu.

And thanks to you Paul. Adieu.


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