Cover photo for David Conrad Chappelear's Obituary
David Conrad Chappelear Profile Photo
1931 David 2015

David Conrad Chappelear

March 2, 1931 — January 10, 2015

David Conrad Chappelear, 83, died peacefully on Saturday, January 10th. He was born on March 2, 1931 in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Charles William Chappelear and Felonise Weiser. David grew up in Hartford, Connecticut and attended the Loomis Chaffee School. He earned a B.A. in chemical engineering from Yale University in 1953, where he sang with the glee club and climbed with the Yale Mountaineering Club. He served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in Fort Sill, Oklahoma from 1954 to 1956. David earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 1960, and continued to be active with the Princeton Graduate Alumni Association. He did always root for Yale over Princeton in football, though. David worked for over twenty years at Monsanto in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he oversaw the development of various plastics products and obtained several patents. During this time, he also taught graduate courses in chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In the early 1980s, he worked leading polymer research and development at Raychem Corporation in Menlo Park, California, before relocating to Pennington, New Jersey to join Johnson & Johnson in 1983. David worked for Johnson & Johnson's consumer products division in Skillman, New Jersey, as Vice President of Research and Engineering and Director of New Technology until his retirement in 1995. Even as an executive, he never stopped being an engineer, and enjoyed the technical, problem-solving side of his work greatly. He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 1986. David was an accomplished mountaineer, and climbed extensively in the Fairweather Range and the Takhinsha Mountains in southern Alaska in the 1960s, including first ascents of Mount Lituya and Mount Quincy Adams. Using his background as a polymer chemist, he assisted with important early analysis of the flow of glacier ice in the Juneau Ice Field. He loved the wilderness, and continued to climb, hike, and ski his entire life, and even in failing health pushed himself to go as far and as fast as he possibly could. He also became an enthusiastic tennis player and an avid bicyclist. David sang with the Yale Glee Club in college, and singing continued to be an important part of his life. He was a member of the choir of the Pennington United Methodist Church for over twenty years. David is survived by two sons, Christopher Chappelear of Maplewood, New Jersey and Thomas Chappelear of Kensington, California; David's companion of over 20 years, Dorothea Webster of Pennington, New Jersey; his brother, Daniel Chappelear of Redwood City, California; and five grandchildren, Matthew, William, Ella, Benjamin, and Eleanor. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, January 14 at 7:00 pm at the Pennington United Methodist Church, 60 S. Main St., Pennington, NJ. There will be a private interment at Princeton Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, NJ 08534.


7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 14, 2 015

Pennington United Methodist Church
60 S. Main St.
Pennington, New Jersey

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