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Bill Chapple

Bill Chapple

Bill at Work

From the UConn obit:

In memoriam William Dismore Chapple 1936-2014

Bill Chapple, professor, sailor, and musician died 09 July 2014 in Hartford Hospital from massive injuries following a collapse. Bill was born 24 July 1936 in Boston, MA the son of the late anthropologist Eliot Dismore Chapple of Sarasota, FL, and Marjorie Donovan Fuller of Cambridge, MA. Bill grew-up in the Boston-Marblehead area, received the BA from Harvard University (1958), MA from Syracuse (1960) and the Ph.D. from Stanford (1965). Bill was a member of the Harvard University debating team and was a brilliant and engaging conversationalist and history buff. He has been at the University of Connecticut since 1966 where he became Professor of Physiology and Neurobiology.

Bill was an avid learner and read widely. Once at UConn he pursued a rigorous math program because he felt he “needed to sharpen” his math skills for his research. Early on he learned “C” programming language and built one of the first personal computers in the department, a PDP11 from a Heath kit.

Professionally, Bill was recognized for his contributions to the understanding of the neural control of motor systems, specializing in an invertebrate model system, the Hermit Crab. As a hands-on investigator, he could usually be found running experiments in his research lab or toiling in front of his computer. His research contributions were recognized with his being make a Fellow of AAAS, the Society of Neurosciences, and the Society for Comparative and Integrative Biology. He received support from NSF and NATO for both his research and for his sabbatical leaves.

A seasoned instructor, Bill taught thousands of students during his 47 years at UConn in subjects ranging from Human Anatomy and Physiology to Neuroscience. He was universally admired for his sense of justice and fair play by both his students and colleagues. With his broad knowledge of history, classics, politics and technology, he could always be counted on to provide unique insight and timely comment.

Beyond his professional life Bill enjoyed time with family and friends on Pagoo, his Cape Dory sailboat. He often sailed single-handed on the Sound and beyond. Bill was a talented guitarist who also sang and played the concertina with equal skill and vigor. Ten years ago, for his own pleasure, he began classical guitar lessons. He drew from an extensive repertoire of American and British Folk Music, as well as Traditional Sea Shanties. He is remembered by his son to have played and sang with the family, often explaining the origins and meanings of every song. Bill was an avid member of various musical groups, and anticipated with great joy the Annual Sea Music Festival at Mystic Seaport. These activates brought joy to all those within hearing range

He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Marjorie Chapple Hinawi and his nephew David Hinawi, both of Texas. Bill is survived by his wife of 50 years, Wendy Deborah Wood of Chaplin CT, his son Samuel, his wife Jamie and his beloved granddaughter Alison of Waterford, CT.

(Prepared by Alan Brush, with thanks to Jamie and Samuel Chapple, and Andy Moiseff for their assistance.)