Jay Chapman death

Tue, 05/26/2009 - 4:04pm
By: Ben Nelms

Tragedy struck and family and friends of 28-year-old James “Jay” Chapman May 22 when the South Cobb High School teacher and former Fayette County High School student was killed in a head-on collision on I-59 near Slidell, La. Chapman was to be married this summer.

Joe Chapman, Jay’s father, said the wreck occurred when the vehicle his son and a friend were traveling in was struck head-on by a 74-year-old man traveling the wrong way on the interstate. He said authorities told the family that the death was likely instantaneous.

Jay and his friend Keith Stewart were headed to New Orleans to join friends and fraternity brothers for a golfing holiday. Jay and four of the others were to be married this summer, the elder Chapman said.

Chapman had just celebrated a birthday and was to be married to Katie Walker, also a teacher in Cobb County, on July 4 in Rome.

“He was very dedicated and he was a Christian,” Joe Chapman said, adding that his son was a member of Jonesboro First Baptist Church. “He was a wonderful guy. He was sweet and thoughtful as a child and as a man. If you knew him, you loved him.”

Chapman and his brother attended Fayette County High School, accompanying his mother, Janet, who taught school in Fayette for 12 years, at both Spring Hill Elementary and at Fayetteville Intermediate. She said Jay played baseball and basketball at Fayette High and continued his affinity for athletics by coaching baseball, basketball and girl’s softball at South Cobb, along with teaching Social Studies.

“Jay as quiet and caring. People all over metro Atlanta knew Jay,” Janet said. “He and fiancee Katie were anxious to start their roles in life as husband and wife and hoped to start a family soon. Katie and Jay were looking forward to closing on their home where they would start their future together on July 4th this week. He was also scheduled to complete his master’s degree this fall.”

Chapman attended Gordon College before transferring to West Georgia College where he was named Athlete of the Year three times, and Pi Kappa Phi was his beloved fraternity, Janet said. He graduated with a degree in history and psychology.

“Jay always had a smile on his face and was a positive influence on everyone he met. Everybody loved him, especially his students and colleagues at South Cobb High School.”

Visitation is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 28, at Ford-Stewart Funeral Home from 6-8 p.m., located at 2047 Highway 138 in Jonesboro. The funeral service is also tentatively planned for 2 p.m. this Friday, May 28, at First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, located at 147 Church Street near downtown Jonesboro.

Chapman’s parents said he admired the work of the Shriners organization. The family has expressed a desire for contributions to be made in lieu of flowers to: The Research Center at Shriners Hospital for Children, 2001 South Lindbergh Boulevard, St Louis, MO 63131.

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