A memorial service for Chris “Chappy” Chapman, the outboard engine applications manager for Mercury Marine since 2013, will be held this evening in Fond du Lac, Wis. Chapman died Thursday, March 24, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. He was 33 years old.
Chapman graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in mechanical engineering technology in 2005. His senior-year internship at the MerCruiser facility in Stillwater, Okla., landed him a job with the company working under Daniel Clarkson. Clarkson moved from the Stillwater facility to Mercury Marine headquarters in Fond du Lac in 2011. Chapman joined him there two years later, but not before working as an applications engineer at the Sea Ray facility in Knoxville, Tenn.
In addition to his talents as an engineer, Chapman was an accomplished powerboat driver who appeared with his family in several product photo shoots. All photos courtesy/copyright Mercury Marine.
With the death of Chapman, Mercury Marine lost one of its brightest and most beloved young application engineering talents.
“Not only was Chris an excellent engineer, he was an amazing mechanic and technician,” said Clarkson, the company’s director of PD&E Integration, Current Product and Facilities Engineering. “I could send him on any assignment—and I did. When we were launching the Joystick system in 2008, it was called Axius then, he was one of the key individuals who helped that application succeed. We worked with key OEMs Formula, Cobalt and Rinker, and he was at all of those locations. He accompanied Formula on their maiden voyage for the Axius product showcase that took them from Miami to Bimini. We had a dealer in Acapulco who was has having trouble with the system, so we sent Chris there by himself. Our European launch for the system was with Sealine Boats at the London Boat Show in 2009, and by the time we got there he was making the final calibrations on the system.
“Chris helped us develop performance optimization tools that we still use,” he continued. “He even developed a portable data-logging system we use now. When he worked at Sea Ray, he started picking up the diesel product applications. He helped rig the Bermuda Challenge Statement Marine (center console) in 2012. Starting as the outboard applications manager for Mercury Marine in 2013, he was key to the launch of our 150, 75/115 and 350 and 400 outboards. Much of the success of those launches I can attribute to the details Chris was paying attention to. The breadth of his work not just for Mercury Marine but for the entire industry was vast.”
Chapman (right) with his fellow applications managers Bret Martin (left) of MerCruiser and Mike Griffiths of Mercury Racing.
Mike Griffiths, Chapman’s applications engineer/manager counterpart at Mercury Racing, described him as “one of those guys who would give you the shirt off his back.”
“Everything he did was 110 percent,” he said. “He gave his best efforts all the time—he was over-the-top in his commitment to everything.”
Added Clarkson, “There was no finer person and no finer employee. I could not have asked to work with a better person personally or professionally.”
Chapman is survived by his wife, Meggie; their six-year-old daughter, Laney, and four-year-old son, Kyler; his parents, Jim and Debra Chapman; and his brother, Stephen, according to his obituary on the website of the Ueker-Witt Funeral home, where today’s visitation and funeral service are being held. A memorial service will be held in Edmond, Okla., on Saturday, April 9. The time and location will be updated on Uecker-Witt’s website.
Chris Chapman with his wife, Meggie, son, Kyler and daughter, Laney.