James Thomas Chappell PSG, who served Moose International as General Governor from 1986-96, then for the next 15 years as a member of the Judiciary Committee, died Thursday evening, Aug. 2, near his Eatonton, GA home. He was 86.
Mr. Chappell's death came just 30 days after he suffered a heart attack and sustained a bad fall in his Tampa hotel room on July 3, the last day of the International Convention in Tampa, which he had attended in evident good health, considering his age. He was rushed to Tampa General Hospital and remained there for four weeks; doctors felt he was too weak to travel until the end of July; he was taken by medical vehicle the 400 miles from Tampa to Chaplin Woods Rehabilitation Center in Milledgeville, GA, near his Eatonton home, on Aug. 1. The next evening, Aug. 2, Mr. Chappell he was unresponsive at about 7:30 p.m. EDT; doctors surmised that previously detected blood clot had lodged in his heart.
Mr. Chappell, a native of Griffin, GA, was a Life Member of the Moose, having joined in 1960 at Griffin Lodge 1503. He swiftly rose through the officers' chairs of the Lodge, serving as Governor for the 1967-68 term. During his time as a Lodge officer, Mr. Chappell instituted the Lodge newsletter and served as its editor for several years; he later spent 17 years editing the Georgia Moose Association newsletter. Additionally, he won several championships in his Association's Ritual competition.
Mr. Chappell elevated to Chattahoochee Valley Moose Legion 130 in 1966, becoming a Life Member of that Moose Legion unit in 1982. He received the Fellowship Degree of Honor in 1968 and the Pilgrim Degree of Merit in 1972 -- after which he once again served through the officers' chairs of his Lodge.
He served the Georgia Moose Association as Deputy Supreme Governor, and then the fraternity overall as a member of the Moosehaven Board of Governors from 1977-82.
In 1982, after taking early an retirement as U.S. Postmaster in Griffin, GA, joined the staff of then-General Governor Phillip Morse as an Assistant General Governor. Director General Paul J. O'Hollaren appointed him General Governor in October 1986. He served as chief enforcement officer of the fraternity's Constitution and General Laws for not quite a decade, until his retirement in May 1996. He had received a conferral as a Past Supreme Governor at the 1995 International Convention in Orlando.
Immediately upon his retirement, Mr. Chappell was appointed to the fraternity's Judiciary Committee--the body primarily charged with considering and drafting amendments to the General Laws. In 2009, Director General William B. Airey named him Judiciary Committee Chairman for his final two years on the Committee. Mr. Chappell stepped down in July 2011.
Mr. Chappell is survived by his wife of 41 years, Jane, three daughters and a son, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Visitation is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, at Conner-Westbury Funeral Home in Griffin. A funeral service is set for 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6, to be begun by a Moose Pilgrim Service of Tribute conducted by the Georgia Moose Association.
In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations in Mr. Chappell's memory to Moose Charities, 155 S. International Dr., Mooseheart, IL 60539.