Friends, family gather to remember victim

Friends and family remember Don Chapman as someone who would help anybody with whatever needs they had.

He’s also remembered as a man whose life changed three years ago during an extended illness when he accepted Jesus as his personal savior.

Scott Reeves of Wheeler Mortuary recounted Chapman’s life Saturday during his funeral, with particular attention to his relationship with Jesus.

“Some people have said this is a tragedy,” Reeves said. “It is a horrible situation. This is a horrible and difficult time. But it is not a tragedy.”

“Four years ago, it would have been a tragedy, but Don met Jesus face-to-face three years ago.”

Chapman died Monday in Lubbock after being stabbed in his Portales home. Isaac Montano II has been charged with the crime.

Reeves encouraged those who attended the service to forgive, saying it would free them “from the bondage of anger and hatred.”

“He had a true love and concern for people,” Wheeler said of Chapman.

He imparted his sense of adventure about life to his daughters, along with his love for Colorado, where he lived for many years before returning to Roosevelt County 12 years ago. He was born in Portales and graduated from Dora High School.

Daughter Sharon Riddle recalled that she wanted to go to fashion college in Arlington, Texas, after high school, but her father insisted she go to Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene for a year.

If she didn’t like it, she could go to fashion college and he would tie a yellow ribbon around every tree on the way there.

As Sharon and her friend were driving from the family ranch to Arlington, they saw the yellow ribbons on every tree and bush for five miles. Sharon returned home that night, delaying her departure from home for a day.

Daughter Julie Walker recalled her father had leased some land to a neighboring rancher for grazing. One day he noticed the cattle were gone.

Father and daughter found them at the neighbor’s ranch and brought them back because he hadn’t paid the lease.

Julie said they were known as the “cattle rustler rustlers.”

Chapman was dedicated to his mother, Zell Chapman-Taylor, visiting her twice a day to open the mail and check on her.

He was an avid sports fan, supporting the local Little League and attending Portales Rams games and Eastern New Mexico University sporting events.

He enjoyed music and travel.

Chapman, 69, was laid to rest Saturday at Mt. Zion Cemetery.