Memorable Manitobans: Albert Thomas “Ab” Chapman (1918-2013)
Farmer, municipal official, archivist.
Born on the family farm near Rivers on 3 February 1918, son of Henry James Chapman (?-?) and Margorie Jane Firth (1883-1964), he was a Councillor and Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Daly for 42 years (1950-1992), and was President of the Union of Manitoba Municipalities (1974-1979). He was instrumental in the building of Riverdale Hospital at Rivers and was its first Chairman (1960); was the first President of WestMan Regional Development Limited at Brandon; and was a member of the board for the Ninette Sanatorium for many years. He was founding member of Watapanah Enterprises that designed and built the Chimo Resort at Rivers. He also served on the Harrow School Board and the Manitoba Municipal Board.
On 8 January 1941, he married Harriet May McDonald (1918-1979) and they subsequently had three daughters. In 1967, he and his wife turned a hobby interest in local history into the Chapman Museum consisting of 15 historic buildings and associated artifacts. This was one of his proudest endeavours and he enjoyed touring visitors through the facility.
In recognition of his exemplary community service, he received the Manitoba Golden Boy Award (1964), Spirit of ‘70 Citation (1970), Good Citizenship Award (1986), Confederation 125th Anniversary Commemorative Award (1993), and Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). He was made a Life Member of the Union of Manitoba Municipalities (1993), Manitoba Good Roads Association (1994), and Ventures Corporation of Brandon. In 2002, he was inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.
He died at Rivers on 7 August 2013 and was buried in the Roseville Cemetery.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“A museum piece in rural politics,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 August 1985, page 2.
Obituary, Brandon Sun, 17 August 2013, page 26.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Lois Allen for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 October 2021