Past AGIF State Chairman Pete Chapa, San Angelo Chapter Died January 2
American GI Forum of Texas Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas – It is unfortunate that the New Year sometimes brings us sad news. I regrettably inform you that one of our long-time Forumeers has passed. Former American GI Forum of Texas State Chairman, Mr. Pete O. Chapa from San Angelo passed away Monday, January 2 after having been in ill health for some time.
Chapa had been under hospice care in recent weeks. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Margie, and their four children: Peter, 58, Robin, 53, Cathy, 52 and Gina, 49.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, in the Johnson's Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Johnson's Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Johnson's Lawnhaven Memorial Gardens.
Chapa, who served in the Army reserve, dedicated his life to helping veterans after his younger brother was killed in Vietnam.
"He didn't have to go to Vietnam, but he chose to," Chapa said in a previous interview. "A day before he was to come back, he was standing guard and got killed. So I have a very special devotion to the military."
He served on many veterans boards and committees, including a stint as chairman of the American GI Forum of Texas during the 1980s. He operated a Veterans Outreach Program for many years until funding ran out. Whether he was paid for it or not, Chapa was always available to help veterans find funding to attend college or find a job, food and housing.
A barber by trade, Chapa for years would collect turkeys and deliver them to people in the south side of San Angelo who couldn't afford them during Thanksgiving, friends and family said. He would dress up as Santa Claus and deliver presents to children in the south side neighborhood where he grew up.
A native of Azucar, Mexico, Chapa's family moved to San Angelo when he was 2. Chapa was one of 11 children and dropped out of school at age 17 to work and help support the family. He returned to school at age 19 and graduated from Central High School when he was 21.
We will keep you informed of any changes and as is customary for our fallen members, we have send flowers on behalf of the members and the Board of Directors of the American GI Forum of Texas.