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Obituaries

  • The late Mark Chapman at the wheel in December, heading toward Englewood.

    The late Mark Chapman at the wheel in December, heading toward Englewood.

  • Mark and Eric in 1988.

    Mark and Eric in 1988.

  • Mark and his father, 1953 or 1954.

    Mark and his father, 1953 or 1954.

  • Nancy and Mark in 1977, on their wedding day.

    Nancy and Mark in 1977, on their wedding day.

  • Mark with his mother.

    Mark with his mother.

  • Mark performing in 2000 on the Golden Princess cruise ship.

    Mark performing in 2000 on the Golden Princess cruise ship.

Mark Chapman, 63: An obituary

The late Mark Chapman at the wheel in December, heading toward Englewood.

The late Mark Chap­man at the wheel in Decem­ber, head­ing toward Englewood.

Mark and his father, 1953 or 1954.

Mark and his father, 1953 or 1954.

(More than half of this obit­u­ary was writ­ten by Mark, in 2014.)

Mark Chap­man, 63, took his final bow Aug. 15, 2016, dying sud­denly due to a brief illness.

Mark was born in Hyan­nis, Mass., June 27, 1953, the son of the late Carl W. and Martha C. Chap­man. He met his wife, Nancy (Guen­ther), at the Smithville The­ater in New Jer­sey in 1976 and they mar­ried a year later.

Alter­nately say­ing “I’m like a shark – if I stop mov­ing I’ll die,” and “They can’t hit a mov­ing tar­get,” Mark moved around the East Coast, first for the­ater jobs, then with news­pa­pers. Both careers had their roots on Cape Cod. Mark’s father built the orig­i­nal Cape Cod Music Cir­cus for Broad­way leg­end Gertrude Lawrence and her pro­ducer (and later ambas­sador) hus­band, Richard Aldrich, in 1950. The the­ater became the Cape Cod Melody Tent in 1954, and Mark spent the first 20 sum­mers of his life there – “It was my sum­mer camp,” he would say. He fol­lowed his father’s lead and became widely rec­og­nized as a tent the­ater expert, both as a hands-on rig­ger and a day-to-day oper­a­tions man­ager. Despite a break in 1973 when he began a four-year asso­ci­a­tion with Chateau de Ville Din­ner The­aters, he con­tin­ued his asso­ci­a­tion with the CCMT through 1993 – 40 years.

Nancy and Mark in 1977, on their wedding day.

Nancy and Mark in 1977, on their wed­ding day.

Mark was a mem­ber of the Barn­sta­ble High School class of 1971. He spent much of his high school career in the music room as a mem­ber of the cho­rus, a trom­bon­ist in the march­ing, con­cert and stage bands, and the pit orches­tras for West Side Story, Oliver, Kiss Me Kate and Guys and Dolls.  He went on to attend Berklee School of Music in Boston for a year.

Hav­ing begun indulging his love of sports and writ­ing at age 15 as a sports cor­re­spon­dent for the weekly Barn­sta­ble Patriot and the daily Cape Cod Standard-Times, Mark looked to news­pa­pers as a career after get­ting mar­ried. In addi­tion to the Times, he worked full­time for Hughes News­pa­pers, a weekly group with the Cape Cod News, Yarmouth Sun, Den­nis Bul­letin, Har­wich Ora­cle and Cape Cod Ora­cle, in the 1980’s, and the Daily Enter­prise of Brock­ton, Mass., where he began his move into news.

He also worked side jobs for a time to sup­port his young fam­ily, wait­ing tables at the Hearth ‘n Ket­tle and doing sports casts in the early morn­ing hours at WQRC.

Mark and Eric in 1988.

Mark and Eric in 1988.

His news career would take Mark and his fam­ily to papers in Vero Beach and Sara­sota, Fla., Wilm­ing­ton, N.C., North Myr­tle Beach, S.C., Vineland, N.J. and Nor­walk, Conn., as it was com­mon to move around in the busi­ness. His favorite, though, was the 12 years he spent with The Boston Her­ald, first in news, then as travel and books edi­tor. That job opened up the door to tak­ing 40-plus cruises and becom­ing the Herald’s self-described “cruise and tacky beach­side resort writer.”

Mark performing in 2000 on the Golden Princess cruise ship.

Mark per­form­ing in 2000 on the Golden Princess cruise ship.

Mark also enter­tained, singing pro­fes­sion­ally at many venues, includ­ing Don’t Tell Mama in New York City, and work­ing with Paul McGowan Pro­duc­tions to host karaoke at Cape loca­tions, such as the Duck Inn Pub. His career included radio talk shows, reg­u­lar appear­ances on a travel talk show in the Boston area, a sports talk show on WKZE in Orleans and the pub­lish­ing of New Eng­land Box­ing Monthly in the 1980s.

As the news­pa­per busi­ness crum­bled, Mark and Nancy and their tal­ented artist son, Eric, started a news web­site when hyper­local sites were in their infancy. EnglewoodEdge.com was quickly pop­u­lar, but the fail­ing econ­omy made it unten­able as a sus­tain­able job. After mov­ing to Nor­walk, Conn., for two more jobs with fail­ing media out­lets, the fam­ily began NancyOnNorwalk.com, with Mark as edi­tor, Nancy as reporter and Eric as designer. The site clicked, the acco­lades grew and the com­mu­nity cred­ited the site with chang­ing the dis­course in the city and hold­ing pub­lic offi­cials accountable.

He had a big per­son­al­ity and invari­ably regaled any­one who would lis­ten with sto­ries about the enter­tain­ment busi­ness, the cruise ship busi­ness, or opin­ions about pol­i­tics or jour­nal­ism. His hearty laugh­ter will be missed.

Mark with his mother.

Mark with his mother.

Mark is sur­vived by his lov­ing and tal­ented wife and part­ner, Nancy, of Nor­walk, Conn.; his tal­ented and devoted son, Eric, of Nor­walk, of whom he was most proud; a brother, David, of Hyan­nis Port, Mass.; brothers-in-law Clarence (Valerie Wal­lace) Guen­ther of Vir­ginia and Michael (Leti­tia Paul) Guen­ther of Nep­tune, N. J.; mother-in-law Eileen Guen­ther of Cologne, N.J.; sister-in-law Bar­bara Guen­ther of Cologne, N.J.; sev­eral nieces and nephews and two cats.

He was pre-deceased by his par­ents, a brother, Peter, and sis­ter, Carol.

A memo­r­ial ser­vice is planned for 2 p.m. Oct. 29 in Nor­walk, Conn., at the Mill Hill His­toric Park located at 2 East Wall St.

In lieu of flow­ers, please con­sider the needs of the fam­ily with a dona­tion to Chap­man Hyper­local Media Inc., a 501©(3) non-profit. There are also two GoFundMe cam­paigns in Mark’s honor.

Online con­do­lences can be left at Nan­cy­On­Nor­walk.