Judge Robert Donald Chapman
Resident of San Jose
Oct. 30, 1925 – May 23, 2018
Judge Robert Donald (Don) Chapman passed away May 23, 2018 in his home in San Jose, California. He was a pioneer in the Santa Clara County legal field and a loving family man.
Don was born in Berkeley, California on October 30, 1925. He was the oldest of five rambunctious boys. He dropped out of high school during World War II to join the Navy. Upon his return he went back to school, graduating from UC Berkeley and University of San Francisco Law School. He married Doris Mary Pederson and while he worked in the Alameda County Public Defender's Office they had four children. In 1965 he founded a public defender's office in Santa Clara: forging connections with other county offices, establishing ethics and procedures and hiring staff, many of whom later went on to the bench. Governor Ronald Reagan appointed him to the municipal court bench. A few years later he ran for, and won, a Superior Court judgeship. He served for decades. He taught evidence and criminal procedure at Santa Clara County Law School and at various state and national legal associations. Upon retirement he acted as arbitrator with Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS). Don played golf whenever he could and was the second president at Almaden Country Club. He was a great storyteller and entertainer. He loved spending time with his family.
Don is survived by his devoted children Susan Chapman of San Jose, Janet McDaniel (John) of Mountain View, Teresa Chapman of Ft. Mohave, Arizona, and Robert (Bob) Chapman (Donna) of Copperopolis, California, his brother Allen Chapman (Jane) of Reno, Nevada, and his grandchildren Tricia Gail Boyer (David) of Monterey, Daniel Chapman of San Jose, James McDaniel (Bre) of San Jose, Jeffrey McDaniel of Riverside, Jessica Harter (Max) of Rosamond, Kelli Chapman of Copperopolis, five great grandchildren and also Christy Jaramillo of Puyallup, Washington, Steven (Dawn) Pistor of Peoria, Arizona, Paulina Joachim of Auburn, and Tim Carney (Rhonda) of San Carlos. He was preceded in death by his wife Doris Pederson, by his second wife Ella Pistor, and by his brothers Harold, Douglas, Kenneth and adopted brother Jim Barnett.
Friends and family are invited to a memorial service on June 10, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at Darling & Fischer, 615 Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos, California 95030.