Author Stricken While Speaking at Seminar


A Seal Beach author and longtime Chaffey College instructor collapsed of an apparent heart attack Monday while speaking to an audience of about 250 senior citizens in Fullerton's Plummer Auditorium.

Elwood N. Chapman, 73, was taken to St. Jude Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Fullerton, where he was reported in stable condition.

When he was stricken at 10:45 a.m., Chapman had just begun a speech on "How to Choose a Retirement Community." He was one of four featured speakers at a retirement symposium sponsored by Morningside of Fullerton, a planned community for retirees that is under construction.

Chapman is author of 10 books, including "Comfort Zones," which is about retirement planning, and "Your Attitude Is Showing," a book about human behavior. Before retiring in 1977, he taught business courses at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga for 30 years. He also taught at Claremont Graduate School.

A witty, jovial speaker, Chapman was puffing slightly as he came to the microphone after climbing up a low flight of stairs to the stage at Plummer Auditorium. Smiling, Chapman told the audience of senior citizens, "As Casey Stengel said, 'I'm never going to make the mistake of being 70 again.' " The audience broke into laughter, and Chapman kept the laughs going as he related other low-key jokes.

Abruptly, however, Chapman told the audience, "I feel fuzzy." He collapsed on the stage shortly afterward. Dr. L.E. Chapin, a gerontologist who was the speaker immediately before Chapman's presentation, came back to the stage to assist the stricken author. The audience sat in anguish as cardiopulmonary resuscitation was administered on stage. Emergency paramedics then rushed Chapman to St. Jude Hospital.

Chapman's wife, Martha, was in the audience and accompanied him to the hospital.

Chapman, a native of Butte, Mont., was a 1939 graduate of UC Berkeley, where he majored in economics. He began his teaching career in the late 1940s, after five years of duty in the Army during World War II. The Chapmans have two sons, William N. of Long Beach and Thomas K. of Newton, Kan., and five grandchildren.

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