Robert Chapman of Midland passed away at his home on Saturday, February 18, 2023. A visitation is planned for March 3, 2023 from 6-8 PM and a memorial service on March 4 at 2:00 PM, both at Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home in Midland, Texas.
Robert was born on August 16, 1955 in Saginaw, Michigan to Henry and Essie Mae Chapman. From an early age Robert loved sports. At Saginaw High School he played basketball, football, and ran track. His coaches quickly recognized his tenacity and outstanding athletic ability. As a senior in 1973, he led the basketball team to the Class A state finals and the track team to a state championship. Bob still holds records at Saginaw High School. He was inducted into the Saginaw County Hall of Fame in 2004. Upon graduation, he was recruited by Head Coach Gus Ganakas and received a basketball scholarship to Michigan State University. He soon found notoriety there as all Big-10 guard. During his junior year, Jud Heathcote took over as Head Coach. Bob averaged 19.6 points per game that year and was selected by the Kansas City Kings in the 5th round of the NBA draft. But Bob chose to return for his senior season to mentor a pair of star recruits, Jay Vincent and Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Bob helped lead the Spartans to a 25-5 season and a number 4 ranking en route to the Big 10 Championship and a trip to the Elite 8, setting the stage for MSU’s 1979 national championship. He finished his career at MSU with 1,382 career points. Bob was frequently asked what it was like to play with Magic. He would confidently smile and reply, “I was team captain. I didn’t play with Magic, Magic played with me!” Magic later named Bob as “one of the most encouraging men in my life!” Upon learning of his death on Saturday Magic tweeted “I’m devastated over the loss of my MSU teammate Bob Chapman.” Bob continued his education after basketball and earned his Master’s Degree in Education in 1980. He began his work career as a teacher and coach at Otto Jr. High School in Lansing. In 1982 he moved to the Michigan state Senate and worked for Senators Art Miller, John Cherry and Bill Faust. In 1997 he began a sales career with State Electronics and then with Eli Lily in 1998. He was selected to Eli Lilly’s President’s Council in 1998 and was a top 1% salesman in his first year with the company. In 2004 Bob applied his talents to working with troubled teens and assisting in fund raising at City Outreach in Lansing. He was extremely effective – it was hard to say “no” to Bob!
In 1994, Bob married the love of his life, Candy Mishler. They moved to Midland in 2007, where they served in various roles with Teen Challenge of the Permian Basin. Bob’s continued love of sports and desire to help young people led him to continue coaching. He coached at Midland Christian School in 2008-9, and then coached numerous youth teams and instructed many players and coaches individually. He had a tremendous positive influence on young people all across the country for many years. At the time of his death, Bob was employed as an HSE Specialist and DIB Ambassador at Oxy Petroleum. He considered it a privilege to be part of the Oxy family and was grateful to Oxy for returning that sentiment towards him and Candy.
Bob and Candy were baptized into Christ and became active members of Westway Church of Christ in Midland. His faith in Jesus and perseverance through trials inspired all who were privileged to know him. Bob was known for his generosity and compassion, always had an encouraging word to share and never hesitated to tell others about the way Jesus had transformed his life.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, his brother James and his sister Lela. He is survived by his wife Candy, his brother Earl and wife Mary, a nephew Desmond Williams and wife Natasha, plus great nieces and nephew Alexsia, Cecelia, Desmond Williams and Takisha Brown. Bob had been praying fervently for several children being treated for congenital heart defects at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, TX. In lieu of flowers, Bob would be pleased to suggest that memorials be directed to The Write With Light Project benefitting children there, www.writewithlightproject.com/bob or Write With Light Project, c/o Texas Children’s Oﬃce of Philanthropy, Ste. 5214, P.O. Box 300630 Houston, TX. All donations in memory of Bob will go to the Fontan Go Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital, benefitting children who are patients there.
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory in Midland. Online condolences may be made at www.npwelch.com.
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