Last Updated on April 27, 2016 8:47 pm
From Austin & Barnes Funeral Home
Benjamin Franklin Chappell was born January 16, 1947 in Elkin, NC. His parents were Theodore and Gladys Caudle Chappell, both of whom preceded him in death. They instilled in him the value of hard work, rearing him on a family tobacco and livestock farm in rural Surry County. Ben was the middle of 3 children. He drove a school bus while he was in high school, sparking his lifelong love of traveling and being on the road.
In 1964 at the age of 17, Ben joined the US Navy. He served in Vietnam where he rose to the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class while assigned to an auxiliary personnel ship as a cook. He loved to serve special meals to sailors returning from combat missions. Steak and other goodies “not on the menu” would be waiting upon their return. He was proud to be a veteran and he had a deep respect for anyone who served in the armed forces. In addition to his military service, Ben was a Shriner. He was also a Master Mason with Ashler Lodge # 373 in Deep Gap, NC.
After his tour in Vietnam, Ben joined the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. He was a Master Trooper, retiring with 25 years of service. His fellow officers have many stories about his years on the force. He was not above pulling the occasional practical joke on a fellow Trooper, and he received his share in return. His humor was a way of coping with the many difficult days a Trooper faces in a long career.
Ben was never one to be idle. After retiring from the Highway Patrol he returned to the road, driving a luxury motorcoach for Burke Christian Tours. He traveled the country from Boston to The Grand Canyon, and points west. He was also a favorite and sought after driver at Appalachian State University, taking sports teams and other college groups to events.
He helped to build his family home on a beautiful mountain in Boone. He gathered the rocks for the fireplace from the land around his home and collected wood and building materials from the property. Everything in his home has a story, which was built to shelter his most precious treasure, his family.
He married the love of his life, Anita Norris Chappell, on July 4th, 1987. They honeymooned to Oregon, down through California and back to North Carolina on a motorcycle. The greatest joy Ben had in life came from his wife and their children, Benjamin Theodore Chappell and Ivy Leona Chappell. Benjamin serves in the National Guard as an Apache Helicopter pilot and Ivy is a Registered Nurse in Raleigh, NC. Ben would beam with pride at the mention of his children. The love of his family, true friends, and the respect of his community is his enduring legacy.
Ben tried to hide his tender side under a gruff exterior. Once at the Boone Airport he rescued a kitten that had fallen inside a hanger wall. He heard the kitten’s mews and didn’t hesitate to cut a hole in the wall to rescue and give him a home.
Ben loved flying, a passion he shared with his son, Benjamin. He was an accomplished pilot, but he was a passenger on his final flight. His family is comforted knowing he died doing something he loved.
He is survived by his wife and children, his sister, Linda Mohr and husband Chris of Raleigh, NC; brother William Henry Chappell and wife Sylvia of Cassett, SC; mother-in-law, Martha Norris of Boone; sister-in-law Debbie Wilson and husband Pete, also of Boone. He is also survived many by cousins, nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by his father-in-law, G. C. Norris, a man for whom he had tremendous respect.
Funeral services for Ben Chappell will be conducted Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock at the Boone United Methodist Church. Masonic graveside services will follow at Mount Lawn Memorial Park & Gardens.
The family will receive fiends Friday evening from 5 o’clock until 9 o’clock at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to one of the charities Ben supported: St. Jude Children’s Hospital, PO Box 1000, Department 142, Memphis, TN 38148 or Saint Joseph’s Indian School, PO Box 300, Chamberlain, SD, 57325.
Online condolences may be shared with the Chappell family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Chappell family.