Brigadier General (Ret.) Steve A. Chappuis
TACOMA, Wash. – Brigadier General (Ret.) Steve A. Chappuis was born in Rayne, Louisiana, on December 28, 1913, to Archie and Elise Chappuis, and passed away on August 19, 2008 in Tacoma, Washington, at the age of 94.
General Chappuis graduated in 1936 from Louisiana State University and was appointed a second lieutenant in the US Army Reserve. In 1941 he was selected for parachute training and assigned to the 502nd Parachute Infantry Battalion. At the rank of Lt. Colonel, he participated in the airborne invasions of Normandy in June 1944 and Holland in September 1944 as commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. For these operations he was awarded the Silver Star and the French Croix de Guerre. He assumed command of the 502nd Parachute Regiment on September 22, 1944 during the Holland operation. General Chappuis was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General George Patton for his role in the defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 – January 1945.
During the war he earned the nickname “Silent Steve,” reflecting his determination, reserve, and humility as an officer. He was also knighted by the queen of Holland for his participation in liberating the town of Eindhoven, Holland, receiving the Military Willems Order. To this day, the Dutch refer to him as “the great liberator.”
He married Kathryn A. Jurjevich, of Galesburg, IL, on June 6, 1946 at Fort Meyer, VA.
Following World War II, General Chappuis served with Army Ground Forces, Department of the Army General Staff, Department Defense Staff, and attended the Canadian Army Staff College and the Army War College. His further assignments included SHAPE in The Hague, Netherlands; Headquarters Allied Forces Southern Europe, Naples, Italy; Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations for the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C.; Deputy Chief of Staff, 1st Corps Group, Korea; Deputy Commander, 4th Infantry Division Brigade; Assistant Division Commander, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, WA; Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Headquarters, US Continental Army Command, Fort Monroe, VA; Assistant Post Commander, Fort Lewis, WA; and Commander of X US Army Corps, Fort Lawton, WA.
Upon retiring from the Army, General Chappuis worked with the Bank of Washington in Tacoma, after which he and Kay enjoyed many years of traveling throughout the United States and Europe.
He was an avid tennis player, reader, and woodworker, a devoted husband and father, and kind friend to many. He lived for his family and one of his greatest joys in later years was preparing for their holiday celebrations. He was sustained by his strong Catholic faith throughout his life.
General Chappuis is survived by his wife of 62 years, Kay; daughter Suzanne Winkles and her husband Bill (Ocean Shores, WA); son, Steve, his wife Jan, and their daughter Claire Elise (Portland, OR); brothers Jack (New Orleans, LA), Donald (Brevard, NC), and Charles (Rayne, LA); and many loving nieces, nephews, and friends. He was preceded in death by his mother, father, brother Richard, and sister Dorothy.
The Chappuis family wishes to express their appreciation for the kindness and caring of the attending medical staff at Madigan Army Medical Center, especially the nursing staff in ICU East.
A Funeral Mass will be held at St. John Bosco Church, 10508 112th St SW, Tacoma, WA 98498 at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 28, 2008. Private family burial will be held at the Mt. Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA Donations may be directed to the Madigan Foundation, P.O. Box 97215, Lakewood WA 97215; or St. John Bosco Church, 10508 112th St SW, Tacoma WA 98498.