Rosemary Phillips Chappelle, chairwoman of the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education, died July 23 of cancer at her home in Northwest Baltimore. She was 65.
The Forest Park resident was appointed chairwoman of CARE by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke in 1989.
In a letter to her husband, Mr. Schmoke wrote: "Under her leadership, CARE addressed difficult problems of senior citizen service provision and organizational structure, and made significant progress in both areas. . . . I could not have asked for a better advocate or progressive leader than Rosemary Chappelle.
TO "All of us who have been privileged to know and see Mrs. Chappelle's gentle but unstoppable fight for individual dignity have been blessed. Her death is truly a great loss to this community," Mr. Schmoke wrote.
In 1964, Mrs. Chappelle started as a caseworker for the $l Baltimore City Department of Public Welfare and later was a supervisor before leaving in 1968 to become director of community information services for the Health and Welfare Council of Central Maryland. She retired in 1991.
While at the council, she established "First Call for Help," a telephone hot line that directed callers to the appropriate government or private sector agency to help them resolve problems or complaints.
Nancy Perry, a C&P; Telephone Co. retiree, recalled Mrs. Chappelle's days on the utility's consumer advisory board. "Her great dream was being able to offer training and networking and bringing people and services together. People came away better for the experience of having known her," she said.
Dan Lipstein, chief of administrative services for CARE said, "Like the old saying goes, she was able to stand in the middle of the road and see both sides. She was always trying to find the best solution to problems and had the ability to see both sides of an is sue and guide and stimulate people to find the best solution."
Mrs. Chappelle received many civic and professional awards and, in 1993, was inducted into the Baltimore City Women's Hall of Fame. She was the first recipient of the Rosemary W. Chappelle Award given by CARE for "promoting the highest standards of human decency and understanding among all people."
She was born in Texarkana, Ark., and was reared in Phoenix, where she attended local schools and met her husband. She earned a bachelor's degree from Arizona State University and a master's from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in 1979.
After moving to Baltimore in 1958, she was a volunteer in the PTAs at Windsor Hills Elementary, Forest Park High and Garrison Middle schools and at the Forest Park Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
She was a member of the Garrison Boulevard United Neighbors Association and Citizens for Maryland Libraries and was a former board member of the Public Policy and Racial Justice Committee of the YWCA of Greater Baltimore.
She was a board member and volunteer executive director of the Maryland Information and Referral Providers Council and was a volunteer at the Waxter and Korean senior citizen centers.
A memorial service was set for 10 a.m. today at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, North Avenue and St. Paul Street, Baltimore.
Survivors include her husband of 47 years, Emmett W. Chappelle, a photo biologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center; two sons, Emmett "Billy" Chappelle Jr. and Marc A. Chappelle; two daughters, Carlotta M. Chappelle and Deborah C. Harris, all of Baltimore; four brothers, Robert L. Watkins of Oakland, Calif., Herbert H. Watkins of Elkgrove, Calif., Edward L. Watkins of Los Angeles and Joseph A. Watkins of Flagstaff, Ariz.; a sister, Mary Louise Riles of Sacramento, Calif;; two grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and numerous nephews and nieces.
Memorial donations may be made to the YWCA of Greater Baltimore, 128 W. Franklin St., Baltimore 21201; or the Rosemary Chappelle Memorial Fund, c/o the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education, 118 N. Howard St., Baltimore 21201.