Helen Ruth Moore Chappell

Helen Ruth Moore Chappell, the Great Encourager, passed on through to her Loving God and Savior on November 11th. She was 101 years young; and somehow her passing still feels too soon. We will celebrate her life in a memorial service at 11 a.m. on Thursday, December 22nd, at the First Baptist Church Kaufman.

Helen grew up in Kemp, Kaufman County, Texas, the first daughter of Garfield and Faye Moore (“Beebo and Granny”). At the time of her death, she was handwriting a second book, entitled “The Feast”, which was her way of describing how richly she experienced the simple, God and family focused life of the 1920s and 30s in Kemp. She always saw the glass half full; it was her fundamental orientation to affirm life and people. In the late 30s, ‘opposites attracted’ as she met Roy J. Chappell, Jr., the love of her life and husband of 65 years. They were part of what has been aptly called ‘the Greatest Generation’. In World War II, Roy was captured in North Africa and served two and a half years as a POW of the German army. He was presumed killed in action, and a memorial service was held in Kaufman. Helen, of course, never believed he was dead; and they celebrated their marriage within a month of his return to the U.S. They were blessed with seven children, four boys and then three girls. Helen was preceded in death by Roy, her first three sons (Roy J. Chappell III (Jay), Roy J. Chappell IV (Dicky) and Billy Garfield) and her daughter in law, Gayla. She is survived by her son, Ben, and her daughters Carol, Nancy and Janis, their spouses JoAnn, Dale, Ken and Alan; by her sister, Dottie, and niece, Anita Gail; by her ‘daughters-in-love’ Barbara and Tamie; and by 11 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren, who every last one adore her. She could tell you the name, birthday and her current kind word about all of them to the day she died.

Helen was as smart as she was loving. She graduated from Texas State College for Women (now TWU) in 1941, and taught school in all the locations in Texas and Oklahoma where Roy was assigned in his jobs with Gulf Oil Corporation. In addition to raising six children and teaching, she served faithfully in every church the family attended throughout no less than 15 relocations during her marriage. No matter where she and the family lived, holiday celebrations were always at the ‘Big House’, the 122 year old family home in Kaufman, where Helen would play the grand piano for literally hours at a time. Any song you could sing, she could play by ear; and this continued through her last holiday there at Thanksgiving in 2021, when she was 100. But as much as she ‘delivered and produced’ in so many ways, her greatest legacy was not so much what she accomplished, but instead who she was. Her large family and a century of friends know this. Rising out of her rock solid faith, Helen genuinely saw the very best in every person she met and came to know; and it was her gift to communicate affirmation in a way that left all who received it seeing themselves more as God intends. The world is such a better place because this special woman spent her long life loving and affirming family and friends. Heaven and her loved ones there are doubtless celebrating her arrival, while she sits down at another grand piano to start up the singing again.

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