Ralph E Chapman

October 31, 2018

Ralph Ebener Chapman, 65, a resident of White Rock, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday October 31, 2018. Ralph is preceded in death by his parents Austin Gilbert Chapman Jr. and Mary Blanche Ebener Chapman, father- and mother-in-law Henry and Anna Deck, brothers-in-law George Deck and Michael Johnson, and sister-in-law Sharon Deck Andrews. Ralph is survived by his wife of 35 years Linda Deck, brother Austin G. Chapman III and wife Kathy, sister-in-law Virginia Johnson, and brother- and sister-in-law Larry and Donna Deck. Ralph is also survived by numerous other relatives and friends, and his loved pets Lola, Lena and Ray.  Ralph was a kind, thoughtful person and had a passion for his professional specialty, paleontology. He ran a research lab at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History for over 15 years, collaborating on numerous research projects and publications. His specialty was rigorous quantification and comparison of shapes; with this he assisted in verifying the identity of Jeffrey Dahmer’s first victim. His interest in numerical analyses continued in setting up a similar lab at the Idaho Museum of Natural History, and then in Los Alamos two companies to virtualize fossils. He also developed techniques to assess business models as a partner in a third company in Los Alamos. He was an avid sports fan, in his youth played many sports (and was especially proud of his soft ball and street hockey acumen), excelled at golf, and rooted for many sports teams. He was an inveterate collector, concentrating on paleontology expressed in writing, art and popular culture icons.  A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Donations in his memory to support Espanola Humane would be greatly appreciated and reflect his tremendous affection for all his pets; each were adopted from shelters or were strays. The family of Ralph Ebener Chapman has entrusted the care of their loved one to the caring staff of DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley. 505-747-7477


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