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John Chappell
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Obituary for John Chappell

John Howard Chappell passed away peacefully at home with his family at his side two weeks shy of his 89th birthday.

He was born on July 19, 1929 in San Jose, California, to Howard & Ruth Chappell. The family moved to Sacramento just outside the city limits a few years later. His father was involved in agricultural education so it was natural John raised chickens, sold the eggs. A dozen ducks were his pets.

He went through the Sacramento schools moving into Sacramento during WWII: David Lubin, Kit Carson and Sacramento High School. In high school he lettered in football, basketball and track. He was also student body president.

His work experience started as a hardware store clerk, worked at Camp Curry in Yosemite in 1944 (the navy took over the Awhnee Hotel as a rehab center), a grocery store clerk, State textbook warehouse clerk, and on the crew team at Camp Sacramento (a wonderful experience).

After high school graduation in 1947 he attended Sacramento Junior College majoring in pre-med. He received his AA degree in 1949. He belonged to Phi Theta Kappa, a national Junior College Honor Fraternity. He then attended the University of California at Berkeley and was in the Theta Delta Chi fraternity. He majored in psychology and received his BA degree in June, 1951.

He enlisted in the USAF in July, 1951. After basic training, he was assigned to the base hospital at Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas as a Neuropsychiatric Technician.

He was later accepted to the United State Air Force Officer Candidate School program. He was a Distinguished Graduate of that program and in March, 1953 received his commission as a 2nd. Lieutenant. He was assigned to the 1500 bed hospital at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, as a Psychologist.

His next assignment was to Guam as a recently promoted 1st Lieutenant and was assigned as the unit commander of the Air Force’s medical facility. When on leave, he was also able to visit Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and India.

After 4 ½ years in the United States Air Force, he was honorably discharged as a 1st Lieutenant in 1956 and received the National Defense Service Medal during his service.

Sometime prior to attending graduate school at Columbia University in New York, he met Margaret (Sugar) Newsome. They were married in February, 1957. They had four children; Rich, Susan, Kathy & Steven. Failing health led to the death of his first wife in February, 1994.

John finished his graduate work and received a MS in Hospital Administration in June 1958. John was administrator at the Sacramento County Hospital from 1958 to 1967. He then joined Kaiser-Permanente and was the Hospital Administrator in Sacramento from 1968 to 1970, Medical Center Administrator in Walnut Creek from 1970 to 1976, and at the Santa Teresa Community Hospital in San Jose from 1976 to 1992 at which time he retired. He was past President of the Santa Clara Hospital Council, Commissioner on Emergency Rooms.

John's high school of class of 1947 was a delightfully active group. Alumni reunions were wonderful. A group of 8 married couples called themselves Mountain Madness. Every other year they would take their equipment and supplies to a pack station in the Sierras. The packer would load the mules and they would be off for a week in the high Sierra’s. John loved these trips with his friends and often called the experiences beautiful.

In 1997, a couple invited him to dinner and was introduced to Dr. Hazel Lott. Their first date was to the San Francisco Zoo! John and Hazel were married on September 27, 1998 and enjoyed nearly 20 years of wonderful memories, travel, family and each other.

John was a true Cal Bear! Long time Cal supporter, season ticket holder for football and basketball for decades and could always been counted on for watching his Bay Area team teams in action on the TV – especially the Warriors and Giants.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Ruth, sisters Gene and Marjorie, his first wife Margaret Newsome, his niece Alyssa Michelle Chaney. He is survived by his wife Hazel Chappell, children Richard, Susan, Kathleen and Steven. Grandchildren Erika and Danielle Chaney, and Megan, Madison and Morgan Chappell.

Services have been arranged with Hulls Chapel in Walnut Creek. A viewing has been scheduled for July 15th at 5:00pm to 7:00pm. A celebration of life is scheduled on July 16th at 11:00am at Hulls Chapel. A reception will follow at a site to be announced.

Hulls Chapel is located at 1139 Saranap Avenue, Walnut Creek, Ca. 94595.

In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations to be made to a charity of their choice.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of John Chappell, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events





5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Hull’s Walnut Creek Chapel

1139 Saranap Avenue
Walnut Creek, CA 94595-1119

Funeral Service




11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Hull’s Walnut Creek Chapel

1139 Saranap Avenue
Walnut Creek, CA 94595-1119


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