Born: November 23, 1933

Died: Decmber 31, 1989

Married: Breck Chapin

Children: Mrs. Sally Schweizer, Polly Chapin, Mrs. Linda Kerr, Mrs. Laurie Edsall, Bill Chapin

Barbara Chapin served as director of the Saranac Lake Adult Center.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 2, 1990

Barbara Chapin dies at age 56.


SARANAC LAKE - Barbara R. Chapin, 60, of Harrietstown Road, the village's 1980 citizen of the year and long-time director of the Saranac Lake Adult Center, died Sunday at the General Hospital of Saranac Lake.

She was born Nov. 23, 1933, in Pittsburgh, the daughter of R. Russall and Helen (Diescher) Roop.

She lived in Saranac Lake for 27 years, with her husband Breck Chapin, who survives. She was a graduate of the Ellis School in Pittsburgh and graduated in 1955 from Pembroke College and Brown University. She also did graduate work in education and gerontology.

Mrs. Chapin was perhaps best known for her selfless dedication to the elderly of the community through her 15-year career as director of the Adult Center.

It was under her direction that the center blossomed from a part-time place for seniors to get lunch into the full-time center that today bustles with activity, classes and lectures.

For her persistence, hard work and care, Mrs. Chapin was named citizen of the year in 1980.

Also an active participant in the local Winter Carnival, Mrs. Chapin worked to keep the festivities going in 1970 and was its Grand Marshal last year. A Daily Enterprise editorial honoring Mrs. Chapin when she retired from the Adult Center called her a “why not" kind of person, referring to the saying. “Some people look at the world and ask, "Why?” others look it the world and ask, "Why not?"

“Barbara's kinetic energy and infectious good humor have won for the senior citizens of our community wide support on the county state and local level," the editorial said.

Mrs. Chapin retired from the center last February, and in March, unable to sit still for long, took on the job of coordinator of volunteer services at the Adirondack Park Visitor Interpretive Center at Paul Smiths.

The job at the Visitor Center appealed to her for reasons similar to the Adult Center job: it involved, working with people creating something from the ground up, she said in a March interview.

Mrs. Chapin was a member and elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Saranac Lake where she was also a Sunday school teacher. She was president of the Women's College Club, a member of the Saranac Lake Rotary Club and the Winter Carnival Committee.

Survivors, in addition to her husband, include four daughters, Mrs. Sally Schweizer of Lake Clear; Miss Polly Chapin and Mrs. Linda Kerr, both of Saranac Lake and Mrs. Laurie Edsall of Candor; a son, Bill Chapin of Quincy, Mass.; a brother, William Roop of Indianapolis, Ind., and two sisters, Mrs. Caroline Mahai of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Mrs. Jean Valance of Wellesley, Mass. Six grandchildren and several nieces and nephews also survive.

There will be no calling hours. A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church, with the Rev. James Mechem, pastor, officiating. Cremation took place at Ellenburg Depot.

Donations in Mrs. Chapin'a memory may be made to the Saranac Lake Adult Center or the American Cancer Society in care of the Fortune Funeral Home, which is in charge of arrangements.