Catherine Chapman

Obituary of Catherine B. Chapman

Catherine B. Chapman, the last of her immediate family, was reunited with them in heaven on January 3, 2021. Catherine was born as Catherine Theresa Buckley on July 16, 1920 to Eugene M. Buckley and Freda M. Geiger. She was the oldest of three children. Eugene M. Buckley Jr. born in 1922 and Caroline Marie (Lutz) born in 1926. In 1934, an older orphaned cousin, Lawrence George Nadzan, joined the family and was raised as another brother. The devout Catholic family struggled through the depression of the 1930’s. Her parents never complained or lamented their fate. They prayed; rolled up their sleeves and did whatever it took to support their family. At the age of fourteen Catherine was confined to Temple University Hospital from October 1935 to February 1936 with a number of illnesses. During the course of her stay in the hospital, the doctor told her parents to prepare themselves because he was certain that she would die before the age of 17. Her mother disagreed with his diagnosis and enlisted the help of her Prayer Angels, the Carmelite Monastery in Allentown, to pray her daughter back to good health. Eventually, Catherine’s condition improved and she was sent home to convalesce. Being a voracious reader, especially of anything by Jane Austin, helped to keep her morale up. She was also fond of history and world geography. Eventually, her health improved and she was able to return to John W. Hallahan Girls Catholic High School where she graduated in 1940. She was working at Bell Telephone as a long-distance operator when the country entered World War II. Wanting to do her part for the war effort, Catherine enlisted in the Navy as a WAVE on September 13, 1943. She often smiled while reflecting on her father boasting to neighbors as he walked her to the train station to head off to basic training. “Did you hear what this one did? She joined the Navy.” After completing basic training at Hunter College in New York City, she was sent to San Diego Naval Hospital. Her first experiences there was caring for casualties from the 2nd Marine Division who were arriving via hospital ships from the battle of Tarawa. She was Honorably Discharged from the Navy on August 17, 1945 for compassionate reasons to help support her family. By the time of her discharge, she had been promoted to the rating of Pharmacist Mate 3rd Class. While at San Diego, she met another patient, John James Chapman, whom she would marry on February 12, 1949. They would eventually divorce in 1972. They settled in Hatboro, Pennsylvania where they raised their two children, John and Marie Therese. Catherine worked as an executive secretary for numerous company managers at Vick Manufacturing from 1963 to 1986. She was well respected amongst her co-workers. She enjoyed traveling the country by train and staying in Pullman cars. She made frequent excursions to Montana to visit friends and made annual trips to Florida to visit her granddaughters. She has five grandchildren: Shawn Marie Chapman, Shannon Joye (Costanzo) Megan Kathleen (Davey) and Benjamin Eugene Hill. She has five great grandchildren; Emmah Joye Wood, Lucas Stephen Davey, Ethan Samuel Davey, Lincoln Emery Davey and Elsa Marian Davey. She is also survived by a large contingent of nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly. In 2012 she reluctantly moved from her home in Fulmor Heights into Assisted Living at Saint Joseph Manor in Meadowbrook, PA. Catherine celebrated her 100th birthday in July 2020 in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic. The staff of Saint Joseph Manor succeeded in making it a memorable occasion while enforcing health guidelines. The celebration was featured on KYW-Radio and the local CBS and NBC affiliates. Catherine was diagnosed with Covid 19 on December 27th. On the Feast of the Epiphany, Sunday, January 3, 2021, she passed away quietly, peacefully and without pain. Catherine was fond of the military. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the United Service Organization (USO) in her name would be very much appreciated. Especially by the members of the military and their families. The Chapman Family would like to extend our thanks to the MANY staff members of Saint Joseph Manor, Holy Redeemer Hospital and the Holy Redeemer Health Care System for the love, care, attention and devotion to duty that they demonstrated during Catherine’s stay as Saint Joseph Manor. Especially, in the midst of the current pandemic. It would be impossible to single you out by name without overlooking someone. You ALL have gone above and beyond the call of duty. A Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at St. Anthony of Padua church 259 Forrest Av. Ambler, PA. on Saturday January 16, 2021 at 11:00 A.M. There will be a one hour visitation starting at 10:A.M. prior to the beginning of the Mass. Social distancing and current health restrictions will prevent anything more than this brief service. She will be inurned at Washington Crossing National Cemetery, Newtown, PA with military honors at a later date. Arrangements: Louis Swift Plunkett Funeral Home Hatboro, PA.