An Obituary: David Randolph Chipman

June 22, 2023

David Randolph Chipman, 95, of Bedford died on June 6, 2023 in Bedford.

David was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1928 and was the son of the late John Chipman, Jr. and Ruth H. (Hayes) Chipman. David’s father was a college teacher at Georgia Tech and took jobs in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Ohio and eventually was offered a professorship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which brought the family to Winchester in 1937.

David enrolled in the Winchester school system in the fifth grade, graduating with the Class of 1945. Following graduation, he went to M.I.T., where he took courses in the Chemical and Mechanical Engineering departments before switching to the Physics Department.    

He graduated from M.I.T. in 1948 and then was admitted to the University of Illinois Graduate School of Physics where he stayed for one year, earning his master’s degree in physics. While he was in Illinois, he met his first wife, Marcia Doolittle, and they were married in 1952.

He returned to M.I.T. and earned his ScD in Metallurgy in 1955 and headed to Germany as a Fulbright Student at the Technische-Hochshule in Stuttgart. He enjoyed his time in Germany and spent a lot of vacation time touring Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, France, England, and Scotland. 

Upon returning to the United States, he began working at a small U.S. Army lab in Watertown which over time became the Army Materials Technology Laboratory.

David Randolph Chipman

David and Marcia had two sons, David H. “Dee” and Eric, and they lived in Lexington for 30 years. They also purchased a waterfront home in South Dartmouth in 1977.

An avid skier and sailor, he continued to enjoy both activities well into his 80s. He cruised to Miami, the Bahamas, the far end of Nova Scotia, as well as doing much local coastal sailing. He also competed twice in the Marion, MA to Bermuda race.

His wife Marcia died in 1990 and his son Eric died in 2017. He was also predeceased by his sister, Ruth Busch.

In 2001, he married Helen Folweiler, a longtime friend he had known through sailing and skiing. They shared many happy years together.

In addition to his wife Helen, he leaves his son Dee Chipman of California, grandchildren Brian and Melissa Chipman, great grandchild Natalia and niece and nephews Ann, John and Brian Busch, as well as stepchildren, David, Sara and Robin Folweiler.

David will be remembered for his competence, but perhaps more so for his kind and caring nature, plus a certain engaging twinkle in his eye upon occasion.

A memorial service will be held at the Carleton-Willard Village, 100 Old Billerica Rd., Bedford, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 26.

David gave his support to several environmental groups. Suggestions for memorial contributions are the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, P.O. Box 70567, Dartmouth, MA 02747 or Stowe Land Trust, P.O. Box 284, Stowe, VT 05672.

Click here to read the full announcement.

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