Antony “Tony” John Chapman
Born in England, Tony moved at age nine with his mother, Audrey and her new husband to Texas. He soon had four brothers, Pete, Robb, Mike and Kenny. He graduated with honors from Harlingen High School. At Orange Coast College he discovered his love of marathoning and studied Biology at UCSB. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1960 where he became an air navigator stationed in Japan. Upon his return to the States he taught 5th in Santa Barbara. He and his wife, Ursula had three kids, Andy, Cari and Crissy. He worked for the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department on the Search and Rescue Team, was a Probation Officer and taught CPR and First Aid. Always a seeker of adventure, he had many tales of saving lives in Santa Barbara County. He started playing soccer and diving deep into health, exercise and nutrition. He wanted to help others and took his interests and turned them into the Aerobic Fitness Center, a fixture in downtown Santa Barbara for years. He then took on partners and helped build up Club Nautilus.
Soon thereafter, Tony pursued his love of the outdoors. He became a kayak tour guide at the Santa Barbara Channel Islands. There Tony found his place to thrive, putting all of his experience to use. As a wilderness first responder, EMT, teacher, sailor, adventurer, and lover of the planet, Tony taught kayaking and about the environment, saved lives, showed everyone a good time, and kept them laughing. Tony was a legend on the water. He would often escort swimmers from Anacapa Island to the mainland on his kayak (a multiple hour adventure). He was such an accomplished kayaker, he often beat men half his age in races around California. Though he was a mentor to many, he was always extremely humble.
Tony was an amazing father to his kids. He taught them how to be good people, hard workers, persevere, pursue higher education and enjoy nature. Tony believed in saving our planet for his grandchildren. He believed in equality for all people, progress for our country and a better life for future generations with clean water, energy and air. To make a donation in his name, please go to https://donate.
Tony was fiercely independent, always positive and in a good mood, and wanted to make others feel better. He loved his dogs, his family and friends. He was an excited, non-stop dancer, loved giving gifts, loved to travel, cried at every war movie, had a vitamin for every ailment, loved bright colors, music, and laughter and always got extra points for creativity.
Tony passed away peacefully with his children by his side. He is missed every day.
A memorial service for Tony will be held at the Ventura Marina Park (approximately 1385 Greenock Lane, Ventura) on Sunday, September 27th at 10:30am where he will receive his military honors. Please wear a mask.