NancyOnNorwalk editor Mark Chapman passed away suddenly Sunday night, after we arrived in Brooklyn to stay with our son. We had been planning to shop for an apartment today.
Mark touched many, many lives in his career as an editor. He was kind, generous and a good teacher. I reached out to an old friend this morning and she reminded me, as I knew she would, that he had turned her life around completely back in the day. It was just Mark being Mark, she said.
Mark’s parents were both deeply involved in the Cape Cod Melody Tent and he grew up in the company of celebrities and creative people. I am sorry that he never got to write that book he had been mentioning.
He got into newspapers after meeting me 40 years ago at Smithville Summer Theater – the first time we kissed we were on the tent. He had been in theater but decided he needed a steady paycheck to support a family.
He was a great father. We had many pets during our lives together and he was great to them as well. I think you know how much he taught me in the past few years.
Mark worked for the Cape Cod Times, the Vero Beach Press Journal, the Wilmington Star News and the Boston Herald, to name a few. He was travel editor at the Herald, for about eight years, I think. He went to Alaska twice, visited the Caribbean and Canada and became something of a cruise expert.
Then we went to Florida, to the Herald-Tribune. That led to an online-only newspaper, Englewood Edge, after the newspaper business started crumbling. Englewood Edge later spawned NancyOnNorwalk.
He was a singer. That got rekindled during his cruise career and he set about getting gigs on Cape Cod, and occasionally Don’t Tell Mama in Manhattan. He was also involved in community theater on Cape Cod and was in a wonderful production of 1776.
He liked to say we were married 35 years (or 36, or 37), and happily married for three (or four or five). That was true. He had a great sense of humor, as I sure many of you know.
Everyone is asking what happened so I will tell you. He didn’t feel well but he wouldn’t go to the doctor. We were in New Jersey and our Connecticare health insurance was not valid.
He had a fever and chills, twice, and I suggested going to the hospital. He said no. Then he got better…. Just yesterday or the day before I thought, “Oh, I guess that’s gone.”
Well, it wasn’t gone. Last night he was shaking again, and died suddenly. That’s all I know.
EMTs and doctors tried to get him back but failed.
Mark was 63 years old.