John Chappell Obituary


From Modesto Bee Obituaries:

John Franklin Chappell, 71, died unexpectedly in his sleep June 20 of natural causes. He was born July 10, 1948, in Oakdale, Calif., the only child of George Franklin Chappell, born in Harrisville, Miss. and Helen Mae Wormington, born in Mo. They were married in 1937 in Yuma, Ariz.

John, a two-time cancer survivor, enjoyed life to the fullest, traveling and riding his GoldWing motorcycle. John attended both Thomas Downey and Modesto High Schools. He graduated from Modesto Junior College and Ogden’s Radio Operational Engineering School and earned a Bachelor’s Degree at San Francisco State University.

John’s radio career began at KSRT in Tracy. He then worked at KCEY in Turlock and was Program Director at KFIV in Modesto. John had a 36-year career at Modesto Junior College as Telecommunications Systems Manager and was a part-time radio instructor. He was instrumental in launching the radio careers for a number of radio personalities.

John loved all forms of transportation. He was an airplane pilot and owned a Grumman Tiger aircraft. John was one of the first in the United States to own a Mercedes Benz Smart car. In more recent years, he became an avid drone pilot and motorcycle enthusiast.

John enjoyed going on cruises and traveling with friends. He was a charter member and current president of the non-profit Modesto Radio Museum. John’s dream was to build a physical museum within the proposed Graffiti USA Classic Car Museum.

John was a caring individual who would do anything he could to help a friend in need, and everyone John met was a friend. John was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by a nephew, Jerome Chappelle and his wife, Jeri of Granbury, Texas; cousin Charlene Green of Emeryville, Calif.; and cousin Phyllis Barnes of Albuquerque, N.M.

A Celebration of Life will was held at the State Theater on July 10, 2021.

Those wishing to donate to the Modesto Radio Museum in John’s memory may send checks to: Modesto Radio Museum, P.O. Box 580452, Modesto, CA 95358.

4 thoughts on “John Chappell Obituary”

  1. John was a GREAT TEACHER and TRUE Mentor, to all of us who wished to pursue a career in Radio. You shared your GIFT, both on the airwaves at KFIV-AM and with many students of radio at MJC. What an “unforgettable honor” for you to engineer My Graffiti Gold Weekend show back in 2013. TRUE Magic! You may be gone, but never forgotten!!-R.I.P.

  2. John was a great mentor. He was not only my boss, but I considered him my friend. We worked together during the late shift more often than not, during my stint at MJC Media Center. We would close out the night by getting a late dinner/early breakfast on McHenry. His passing has left a hole in my heart and memories that will last the rest of my life. We all miss you John.

    1. I too worked with John in the “Tech Room” in the late 70s. We would sometimes grab a bite to eat after a long night of hectic Tech Room work. I think of him and all the media staff often. I was so sorry to hear of his passing. It sounds like you and I walked the same path with John. RIP my friend John and thanks Scott S.

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