Born in Preston, Idaho on January 1, 1931, John Elden Chapman was the fourth child and first son of John and Alexia Chapman. The whole world has been celebrating his new-year’s birthday ever since. John lived in Preston until he was 10 years old, when his family moved to Firth, Idaho, where he grew up helping on the family farm. He attended school in the Firth school district. In high school, he played basketball and football. The radio announcer called him Racehorse Chapman because of his quickness and speed.
When he first attended the one-room elementary school at Firth, he wondered who had drawn the Sunny Jim picture hanging at the front of the room. That was the first he noticed Loraine Dye. On March 21, 1950, he and Loraine were married in the Idaho Falls Temple. They began farming in Firth, where John also worked as a ditch rider for the Snake River Irrigation District, running draglines and bull dozers, and overseeing water users. He eventually took over his father’s farm, and in 1966 he began working for Idaho Supreme as a foreman. For many years he worked full-time, while still farming. In 1982 he became a part-owner of Idaho Supreme.
From 1992-1993, John and Loraine served a mission for the LDS church in the Argentina, Resistencia mission. John used his farming and handyman skills to help the people he was serving. He was known as MacGyver to some of the missionaries, whose apartments he helped maintain. He and Loraine traveled many miles weekly to visit and help the members in outlying areas. From 2003-2004 John and Loraine served another LDS mission to the Guayaquil, Ecuador Temple where John served as a counselor in the temple presidency.
John was adventurous and loved to travel. He traveled to Russia and China for business, to South America for his missions, and Europe, the Cook Islands, and several other destinations for fun. Everywhere he went, he found friends--those he knew already and those who quickly became his friends. John loved learning new skills. He picked up skiing in his 40s and snowmobiling in his 60s.
John served in many callings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a sealer in both Spanish and English at the Idaho Falls Temple. He also served as a Patriarch, a Bishop, Stake President Counselor, Teacher, Elders’ Quorum President, Scoutmaster, and numerous other callings.
John always helped and served others and was loved by all. He was especially devoted to his family. He is survived by his wife, Loraine, six children; Blaine (Debbie) Chapman, Karan Chapman (Mike Stephens), Connie (LeGrande) Williams, Joann (Darrell) Tew, Don (Mary) Chapman, and James (Audrey) Chapman; 21 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Friday, December 9, 2016 at the Firth LDS Church (744 North 600 East). The family will receive friends Thursday December 8, from 6:00 till 8:00 p.m. at Nalder Funeral Home (110 West Oak) in Shelley and Friday morning from 9:30 till 10:40 a.m. at the church. Burial will be in the Firth Cemetery.