Beverly Whitaker Long Chapin passed peacefully in her sleep on February 5, 2022, in Pittsboro, North Carolina. The only daughter of Earl and Berniece Whitaker, Beverly was born on July 16, 1936, in Memphis, Tennessee, and spent her childhood in Harrisburg, Arkansas. She was predeceased by both parents, her only sibling, Dr. John Whitaker, and her two spouses. In 1976, Beverly married William (Bill) Long of Greencastle, Indiana. His son William and daughter Lisa are both deceased. After Bill’s death, Beverly married Hugh Chapin, and moved to Galloway Ridge, a retirement community that Hugh was instrumental in developing. Beverly is survived by many beloved family members, including her two nieces, Amy and Stacey, nephew Jeff, grandson Billy, granddaughter Britt, daughter-in-law Yoko, grandniece Liv and grandnephews Jack and Sam, great-granddaughters Shayna and Nora, great-grandson Trey, and great-great-granddaughter Olivia. She is also survived by many wonderful members of Hugh’s family including his two sons, Stewart and Tom, and their families.
Beverly earned a B.A. in speech and drama at Hendrix College in Arkansas, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. Dr. Chapin’s career included stints teaching drama, speech, and English, as well as directing stage productions and supervising student theses and dissertations. Her professional journey began at Newport High School in Arkansas; next was Texas State University in San Marcos; then the University of Texas in Austin; and finally, in 1978, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Dr. Chapin held a professorship in Communication, during which she served as Department Chair for 7 years. Dr. Chapin’s teachings were reflected in textbooks, articles, book reviews, stage productions, and conferences. She was the founding Editor of Literature in Performance, now called Text and Performance Quarterly; served as President of the Southern States Speech Communication Organization; and later was elected President of the National Communication Association. Dr. Chapin was a leader of many professional groups and the recipient of many honors including the prestigious UNC awards: Kenan Professorship, the Thomas Jefferson University Award, and The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. Beverly was a highly respected and much-loved teacher and mentor. She had a profound influence on the field of performance studies, through her writings, performances, and lectures, but most importantly, through her many students.
Beverly played just as hard as she worked. She was a consummate hostess and liked nothing better than having lively and beautiful dinner parties with friends and family. Her big love was theatre, perhaps sparked when she was ten and producing shows in her parents’ garage. Beverly enjoyed traveling and went on many international trips, visiting countless museums. The island of Greece was her favorite. Beverly loved poetry and brought that appreciation and enjoyment not only to her students, but also to the residents of Galloway Ridge, where poetry readings are now a part of life.
Her loved ones anticipate holding a memorial service to celebrate Beverly’s life at Chapel in the Pines, Chapel Hill, NC (https://citppc.org), later this spring, to enable more of Beverly’s family and friends to be able to join. In the meantime, we warmly invite you to contribute favorite stories, memories, and photos of Beverly on a memorial page her loved ones have created at MyFarewelling: https://www.myfarewelling.com/memorial/beverly-chapin
For memorial contributions, please consider Chapel in the Pines (Chapel Hill, NC 919.960.0616), University United Methodist Church (Chapel Hill, NC 919.929.7191), Hendrix College (Conway, AR 501.329.6811), the Beverly Whitaker Long Chapin Fund for Performance Enrichment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Special Events Program at Galloway Ridge (919.328.2657).
To contribute to the Beverly Whitaker Long Chapin Fund, please do so here: https://give.unc.edu/donate?p=ASCS