I don’t profess to know much about Maurice (Mo) Chapman outside of the Royal Canadian Legion and United Irish Societies (UIS). When I came on board the UIS as a member and a marshal in 1992, Mo was already a well-established and respected member. At that point I didn’t know how involved he was. All I knew is he was a very friendly older gentleman who made newer members feel welcome at meetings and on social occasions.
I only truly became aware of the roles he played within the UIS when I was asked to be a Deputy Parade Director and when I joined the Elected Executive, both in 1997. I learned that Mo was a talented artist who was contracted to create banners appearing in the parade. I believe the last of the canvas banners he created were only retired in time for the 2019 Parade, a testament to the exceptional quality of his work.
Mo’s body of work within our community also included inducting Parade dignitaries and others into the “Leprechaun Club”. When inducted, Mo presented a canvas caricature Leprechaun with a personalized witty phrase, examples include “O’Donnell is Me Name, Moving is Me Game” and “Pidgeon is Me Name, Historian is Me Game”
Mo also gave his time to the Entertainment Committee, joining other members as they entertained the elderly and the infirm and at special events. Sadly, this committee went dormant however the memories of the smiles and the laughter lives on because of benevolent volunteers such as Mo.
If all the above was not enough, for numerous years Mo and Nancy acted as chaperones for the Queen and Princesses of the St. Patrick’s Parade. A tough assignment, no doubt, their constant grandparental presence provided a steady, calm influence for any particular year’s Parade Court.
Beside every good man is a good woman and Mo was no exception. I rarely, if ever, saw Mo without Nancy. They were a wonderful couple in every sense, each attentive to the other and often attired in something that complemented the other. At banquets and dances, other guests would look to Mo & Nancy to get the party started on the dance floor. Although I have not mastered the fine art of line dancing, and probably never will, it was always a privilege and a pleasure to watch Mo and Nancy lead their flock onto the floor as a duck leads its ducklings into the water.
At the conclusion of each UIS president’s term of office, he (or she) has the privilege of presenting Gold Card (Life) membership to two members of the organization. In April 2007, President Larry Smith presented Mo with Gold Card (Life) membership in the United Irish Societies for his many years of membership and volunteerism in the organization.
The UIS isn’t the only organization Mo held Life membership in. Mo was a proud Life Member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 212 in LaSalle. Although I don’t know much about Mo’s military career, I am learning that his career spanned 26 years. At the time of his retirement, Mo was a Warrant Officer. I also understand he was with the Royal Canadian Engineers during World War II.
Another little known fact about Mo is he had success as a singer/songwriter. In 1963 Mo Chapman and Bob Davies co-wrote a song about Detroit Redwings superstar Gordie Howe under the name Big Bob and the Dollars.
A military man, businessman, Veteran, community volunteer, artist, husband, father of seven, and grandfather/great-grandfather to fifteen he leaves to mourn many colleagues, friends and family. He is definitely missed.
Until we meet again, Mo. Thank you for your service to your community and to our country.
Ken Quinn, Historian
July 24, 2019