In Memory of






Obituary for Kerrith Butler "Kerry" Chapman PhD

Dr. Kerrith Butler Chapman passed away at his home in Potsdam on Sunday, May 19, 2019, after a long illness.
Kerry was born June 8, 1950, in Norwich, Connecticut. He was the son of the late Lyman L. and Dorothy H. (Lamphere) Chapman.

Kerry graduated from Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1972 with a B.S. in mathematics, summa cum laude. When he discovered that employment opportunities at the time were not especially promising for holders of only a bachelor’s degree, he enrolled in the graduate program at Kansas State University, starting in the fall of 1973.

In 1980, Kerry moved back East with his doctorate, two dogs, and a deep appreciation of the history and culture of Kansas. He began teaching pure and applied math at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, and taking classical guitar lessons.

Three years later, he left teaching temporarily to take a job as a mathematician at the Naval Undersea Research Lab in New London, Connecticut, where his expertise in harmonic analysis was put to good use. He also acquired an interest in RPGs, and in computer games.

Eventually, though, Kerry decided that he preferred teaching. He came to SUNY Potsdam in 1987, and remained there until 2013, when he retired due to poor health. He loved his students: he would beam with pride at their successes, chuckle at their foibles, and listen to them when they needed advice or a shoulder to cry on.

After he retired, Kerry was able to spend more time with his hobbies. He had always enjoyed movies and reading about the film industry, and was particularly interested in the film noir genre. He loved his pets; he was almost always in the company of a dog and a handful of cats.

Kerry married the former Alison Madden Miller in 1989. She survives him, as do a stepson, William E. Miller, a sister, and several cousins.

There will be no funeral, although there will be a memorial service for Kerry at a later date. Those who are so inclined could make a donation in his memory to the Potsdam Animal Shelter, the SUNY Potsdam Math Department, or Hospice and Palliative Care of Northern New York. Or just do a kindness in his memory.