Dee’s Story

Site created on May 20, 2020

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Newest Update

Journal entry by Claire Swedenburg

We celebrate the life of Dee Payne Chapman, a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and a constant source of beauty until she peacefully passed away on September 1, 2021, in her home.
Countless hysterical, loving, and inspiring words describe Dee, but ‘beautiful’ is the most accurate because she was beautiful, lived in a beautiful way, left a beautiful legacy, and reminds us of hers and our beautiful future.
 
Dee was as gorgeous on her last birthday at fifty-eight as she was on her twenty-first. There’s never been an outfit that didn’t favor her. And while you may not have liked a particular outfit choice, you can’t say it wasn’t stunning on her. She lit up every room!
 
What was more obvious than her physical beauty, which was undisputed, was the way she wore her beauty proudly. She wasn’t prideful, but she had a strong sense of knowing who she was and what she brought to the world.  
 
She also lived beautifully. Growing up in Little Rock, Ark., but moving to Fairhope, Ala., where she called home for more than 30 years, Dee was elegant meets unconventional meets some fantastic piece of eclectic artwork she found in an obscure shop in Italy. If what we know about Heaven is to be trusted, and Dee would’ve told you it’s to be trusted, she left a table set with wonderful food, sincere fellowship, cherished family, and trusted friends to help prepare the eternal feast in Glory.
 
She found beauty in whatever situation she found (or put) herself in. The mundane was more beautiful because she lived fully in it. The extraordinary was heightened if she was present.  
 
Don’t be fooled with all this imagery of loveliness. Dee’s beauty was a fierceness we saw anytime Winston snapped a football. Anyone Dee worked with client or colleague at Alere now Abbott for more than 25 years could attest to her grit and strength, which constantly made her a top performer nationwide. Her beauty was only intensified by her strength these last few months as she bravely fought cancer. She fought to see Claire have her second, perfect baby boy. She lived for her grandchildren’s big moments and loved them hard in the days she had.
In death, she’s been made more beautiful, more perfect, and more everything Dee! We understand she was made in Christ’s image, so He too loves what we loved about Dee. Christ died, so in death, Dee could live eternally. She traded her fabulous, earthly garments – some hand-made by Tricia – and is royally clothed in Glory! (No offense to Tricia, they were wonderful.)
 
Dee is still deeply loved and survived by her husband of 33 years, Winston Eugene Chapman, Jr.; daughter, Claire Chapman Swedenburg (Michael Baker Swedenburg); son, Winston Eugene Chapman, III, (Molly Beth Eubank Chapman); grandchildren, William Tyler Swedenburg, McCoy Wright Chapman, and Wynn Baker Swedenburg; mother, Charlotte Payne; sister, Shelly Payne Martin (Bobby), brother, Howard Devone Payne, III, ‘Trey’ (Margaret); mother in law, Reba Martin Chapman; and sister in law, Celia Chapman Anthony (Alan).
 
She was proceeded in death by her beloved father, Howard Devone Payne, Jr., and father in law, Winston Eugene Chapman, Sr., who gave her huge bear hugs when she entered Heaven.
 
There will be a celebration of life Saturday, September 11th, at Fairhope United Methodist at 11:00 a.m. with a reception following from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at Little Point Clear. 
 
While we mourn our loss, we celebrate her gain. We celebrate her life and her entrance into her heavenly home, so the family asks guests to wear what Dee would have worn and leave the black at home.
 
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to MD Anderson to help fund cancer research, provide treatment, and end this disease.
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