Richard Paul ‘Rick’ Chapin was born on July 29, 1963 at the Baldwin Hospital in Baldwin, Wisconsin, the fifth of five children to Paul Richard and Phyllis Jeanne (Anding) Chapin. He was baptized at Rush River Lutheran Church in rural New Centerville and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hammond. He graduated from St. Croix Central High School in 1982.
Rick wanted to live a simple life but was born into a complex world. Ending his life on Saturday, May 2, 2020, at the age of 56, provided the only answer to all his questions and the concerns of extended stays in hospitals and nursing homes because of health and financial issues.
Rick lived at home with his parents until 1991 when he moved onto a hobby farm east of River Falls which he rented and where he called home until his death. He was a hard worker and was employed locally with (and not necessarily in order) DorWes Farms (Cowles Dairy); Janse Oil; Jalowitz Construction; Zappa Brothers; Luepke Oil; Gulich Trucking; and lastly with Cudd Brothers as a Heavy Equipment Operator. He even worked with ostriches, tried farming in a rented barn, and had raised some pigs and calves over the years. His family has so many fond memories of gatherings at his home and how he kept an immaculate yard.
One of Rick’s favorite things to do was take helicopter rides – especially with Vietnam Veteran pilots who offered him more than just a ride – they shared their experiences. Multiple VHS tapes and DVDs about the WWII aeronautical battles were also a witness to his interest in the Greatest Generation. Restoring and maintaining farm and lawn mowing equipment was important to him and gave him a sense of pride and pleasure. He carried a large frame of a body, but was a teddy bear when you wanted a hug. This may not be the way he wanted it done – all the going out of our way to honor his life. But being stubborn was a trait and a burden. To express his faith was often hidden by opinions that offered lively rebuttals by friends and family. He openly admitted that not all his decisions were the best, but he fully took responsibility and accepted the consequences. We grieve his death knowing that God has always held him in His arms. May he finally rest after years without awaking to a normal healthy day.
He is survived by his brother, Rocklon (Barbara) Chapin of Blaine, MN; sister, Cynthia of Hudson, WI; sister, Deborah (Mark) Willink of Baldwin, WI; and brother, Peter (Brenda) Chapin of Roberts, WI; paternal uncle, Robert Chapin; maternal aunts: Carol Bouvin of Lexington, KY; Mary (Dick) Bennett of Hudson, WI; Kathy Stohl (Mike Mayer) of Hudson, WI. Six nephews/nieces: David (Susie) Willink; Jonathan (Mary) Willink; Jennica Driscoll (Josh Gerhardt); Brian Chapin; Eric (Ellie) Chapin; Laura Chapin; and 11 great nephew/nieces, and many other dear relatives, friends, and especially neighbors, also survive him.
He was preceded in death by his parents; paternal aunt Pearl (Norman) Albertson; paternal uncle Don (Betty Jane) Chapin; paternal aunt Ruby (Lyal) Bestul; paternal aunt Gerry Lou Olson; maternal uncle Fritz (Ruth) Anding; cousins Norma Karen Larson, Ron Albertson, Terry Lee Smith, Mark Olson, and Ron Anding.
There will be a private family burial of cremains (Rick’s and his mother’s) in Oakwood Cemetery, Hersey, Wisconsin. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Rick Chapin’s family, c/o O’Connell Family Funeral Homes, 520 11th St S, Hudson, WI 54016. In light of how Rick was hesitant to accept offered help, may you find it in your heart to lend a listening ear when the call comes and thus charity will find a home. Please send any memorials directly to your charity of choice.