Local Obits

Obituary of Sherwood Chapman


Sherwood “Skip” Chapman of Cortland passed away peacefully on October 22, 2021 in his childhood hometown of Homer, NY. He was 83.

Skip proudly described himself as a “newspaperman.” After a brief stint as a surveyor, he answered an ad in the paper and became a reporter for the Cortland Standard. Fifty years later, he was still there doing what he loved. There was hardly a day in his life when he did not have 3×5 cards and a pen in his shirt pocket to capture story ideas. While his children were in college, Skip would send them laconic letters asking about school and updating them on happenings at home, all typed on scraps of newsprint and edited for AP style.

Skip had a variety of lifelong interests. He could often be found at the Groton Rod and Gun Club shooting trap with friends – a passion he inherited from his father. Skip’s love for baseball developed at an early age, as he frequently went to see the various teams that barnstormed through Homer. He would vividly recall the Negro League games he watched as a child – and personally saw history transform as his baseball scout neighbor on Williams Street in Homer signed Henry Aaron to a major league contract. He was proud to pass on his love of the game to his children, teaching them to bat left-handed so they would be three steps closer to first base, and to his granddaughters, who play competitive softball.

A fan of family gatherings, Skip would often sit at the table quietly soaking up the conversation until a niece or nephew—Pam (Gillim) McGuire, Laura Gillim or Bill Gillim—told a colorful story and he would laugh uproariously often leading to coughing fits. But no one could make him laugh as hard or as often as his wife, Rosemary.

Skip was born in Cortland on July 16, 1938 to Leo and Mary (Williams) Chapman. He graduated from Homer Central School in 1956 and attended Union College in Schenectady, New York where he studied liberal arts. He served in the Army National Guard from 1962 to 1968.

In the years following World War II, Skip watched his mother, an entrepreneur, travel to schools in rural districts throughout New York state and use that knowledge to build and direct the first centralized school lunch program in Homer. His sisters, Betsy and Mary, forged their own successful careers in health administration and library science respectively.

Skip was an engaged father often bringing his children to work to watch as the paper was made and teaching them to sew, cook and change the oil in their cars. He loved his children openly and supported them equally.

In addition to Rosemary (Casey), his wife of 52 years, he is survived by his son Stephen (Sohee Ahn), of Victoria, British Columbia (Canada), daughter Colleen (Matthew Weiner), of Newton, Massachusetts,sisters Betsy Gillim of Canandaigua, New York and Mary Chapman of Green Valley, Arizona, and three grandchildren, Josie Weiner, Zoe Weiner, and Sophia Chapman.

The family would like to thank the Elizabeth Brewster House for their exceptional care. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Anyone wishing to send a note of condolence to the family may do so through sherwoodchapmanfamily@gmail.com or to the Chapman Family, 20 Kennedy Parkway, Cortland NY 13045. Memorial donations may be made to the Elizabeth Brewster House or the Committee to Protect Journalists at https://cpj.org/.

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