Louisiana Publisher Bill Chapman Dead at 88

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By: E&P Staff

Former Bastrop (La.) Daily Enterprise Publisher Bill Chapman died Sunday at age 88, his paper reports today.

Born in Kansas City, William Sams “Bill” Chapman served in a Signal Corps photographic unit in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he earned journalism degrees from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Chapman, whose father worked as a journalist for 50 years, took a job as a staff photographer for The State Journal and The Daily Capital in Topeka, worked for the University of Missouri photo service, headed public relations photography for the Santa Fe Railroad and did contract work for the Associated Press, United Press, The Kansas City Star and other newspapers.

In 1950 Chapman bought The Freelance Observer, a weekly published in North Crossett, Ark., from Nathan Bolton of Bastrop, and soon after added another weekly, The Crossett Home News, then merged the papers as The Crossett News Observer. He sold that paper in 1953 and moved to Bastrop to work for his father-in-law, Nathan Bolton, at The Bastrop Daily Enterprise.

The Enterprise was among the first dailies to convert from hot type to photo-offset printing and to adopt electronic typesetting and use of computers. When the paper was sold in 1984, Chapman stayed on as co-publisher until July 1986, and he continued writing his column.

Chapman served several terms as a director of the Louisiana Press Association, where he was president in 1985-86, was an active member of the International Newspaper Advertising Executives Association, serving several terms as regional vice president, and was a charter member and first president of the Louisiana Newspaper Advertising Executives organization.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Natalie Bolton Chapman; two daughters and two sons, and five grandchildren.

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