DAVID Chapman is being remembered as a man who shone in business and on the field at his beloved Merewether Carlton Rugby Club.
Mr Chapman, 62, the managing director of Hunter Street business Chapman Property, died peacefully in his Honeysuckle home on Monday, dressed for work and reading one of his favourite books.
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His son Colin said he had worked for the past 12 years alongside his father in the family company, which last year marked 50 years in business after being founded by David Chapman's father, Newcastle businessman Colin Firth Chapman.
"Dad had always coached me for this moment, he wanted to make sure when he left that everyone was looked after, and mum [Margaret] had everything she needed - mum was the the apple of his eye," the 30-year-old said.
Born and bred in Merewether, Mr Chapman left school and studied law at Macquarie University alongside his younger brother, Peter, now 60, at their father's behest.
"In his day, his dad wanted him to be a solicitor, he wanted both his boys to do that, he was in sales and wanted them to have more of a life so he pushed them at that time as law was and still is prestigious," Colin said.
Graduating to take out the university prize in finance and securities, David Chapman worked for Turnbull Hill Lawyers under founder Michael Hill for a couple of years before his father asked him to join the family business in 1989.
The move came after he married his wife Margaret, who he proposed to just months after meeting at Fannies nightclub.
"Mum had been working in his father's business and he didn't know because there were four offices," Colin said.
Managing director from 2000, Mr Chapman continued to grow the commercial and residential real estate business before Colin, one of his four children who all live in Newcastle, joined in 2010.
"Dad has been in control since 2006 completely and the business has always been under Dad's leadership, it's been big and and successful and we've trained a lot of the agents out there that own their own firms, a lot of agents came through my pop and dad," Colin said.
Colin said his father was a "hard man, a good businessman and operator".
"He was incredibly intelligent, we called him the human calculator as he did financials through pen and paper, he never used a calculator, he jotted figures down at all hours," he said.
"The business always came first, he remortgaged his house multiple times with mum because he wanted to pay the wages, staff came first.
"He was a loving guy, involved in the community, he loved his sport through and through, there was always something that he followed. He watched all codes, he played for Merewether Carlton avidly - he bled green."
"He will be remembered by a lot of people, he was a hard businessman - working for him and alongside him - but he was never greedy. It wasn't about becoming rich. The Chapman brand was there 50 years and it was important that his legacy be there and for his kids to be proud to have that name."
Colin said his father was reluctant to ask him into the business because he didn't want to pressure him to do something he wasn't passionate about.
"He wanted us to pursue what we wanted to do and choose our own pathways. When I came in, he was happy," he said.
Colin Chapman said he and his father had been recently in the process of transitioning the business as his father looked to semi-retire.
"He thought it was time for me to prove myself and for the reins to be handed over," he said.
With his younger brother Peter, David Chapman played hooker - David for Merewether Carlton, Peter for the Wanderers. The brothers also played cricket, David for Charlestown and Peter for Newcastle City.
David's involvement at Merewether Carlton was large: he played 252 club games, 82 of them in first grade. He captained the first grade side that won the major premiership in 1989. He was club president in 1992 and club captain in 1989 and 1990.
Peter Chapman said in Wednesday that his brother's death had come as a shock to the Chapman family, and prompted him to reflect on their brotherly battles in their backyard before they shifted to play the same position on the field.
"The battles were followed by a beer and a laugh in the bar afterwards, camaraderie between the Wanderers and Merewether Carlton are synonymous with being a part of the Newcastle community," he said.
Mr Chapman's former teammate Dennis Neader said he was shocked to learn of Mr Chapman's sudden death.
"I played many games with David, you always saw him with his head in the darkest places and he'd have your back in any stoush," he said.
"Apart from the cliches, I'm shocked and lost for words."
Former Merewether Carlton club president Stephen Reid said he was similarly shocked and saddened to hear the news.
"David was the most inspirational captain I every played under, he made me a better player and person and leader not just on the field and off the field, he was quite extraordinary," he said.
The two played close to a decade together and he said Mr Chapman's great talent was that "he could lift the ordinary to the extraordinary".
David Chapman is survived by his wife, Margaret, his children Kirstyn, Gabrielle, Colin and Jarrad, and his brother Peter.
His funeral is expected to be next week.
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