Rebecca “Becky” Chapman Wilburn
Rebecca Chapman Wilburn, age 75, passed away on March 26, 2021 at the Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Wilmington, DE.
Born in Greenwood, SC, to Allen and Elizabeth Chapman, Becky was one of five sisters that she loved dearly.
Becky was a friend to all with a special affection for those with four legs, fur or feathers. She nurtured Tat, Quincy, Mr. Fluff, Pug, Amos, and Cleo as their Mom and confidant. They could do no wrong.
She was a graduate of Greenwood High School in South Carolina and Pfeiffer College in North Carolina (1966) where she met her husband, Jim. She and Jim started their journey in Albemarle, NC, where she began her career as a first-grade teacher at Albemarle Elementary. She taught children to read with an emphasis on those with special challenges. She inspired young minds to succeed. Her students loved her. Her daughter, Elizabeth, joined the family in 1970.
Becky continued to use her teaching skills at Raleigh Academy in Raleigh, NC. In 1974, her son, Jake, was born. Always active in church as a person of faith, Becky taught Sunday School at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary, NC.
Becky and family moved to the Newark, DE area in 1979 to begin the next chapter in their lives. Becky and Jim joined First Presbyterian Church in Newark, DE in 1982, where they remained members. Becky taught Sunday School, chaired the Strawberry Picnic for many years, led a Presbyterian Women’s Circle, served as President of Presbyterian Women, and continued her faith journey as Co-Superintendent of Sunday School, Deacon, Elder and Stephen Minister. She was the consummate Mom, always the “hostess with the mostest,” had a great laugh, and loved books, Sodoku, music, movies, chocolate and traveling with her family. She encouraged the children to explore expression whether it was in music, band, theater, athletics or civic engagement. Family, friend or stranger, all were “honey,” or “sweetheart” to Becky. Though the family moved to the Delaware Valley in 1979, Becky was renowned for her Southern accent, which never waned.
In 2007, Becky assumed her most important identity, the incomparable “Nana,” with the birth of her first grandchild, Finn, followed in 2009 by Georgia and James in 2014. Becky loved being Nana and showing off the latest pictures of her grandchildren.
Becky was a friend to all. In her first months at Parkview, the Director said Becky would find ways to assist residents “who needed a little extra help.” When her condition worsened, those same residents assisted Becky.
She was predeceased by her parents, Allen and Elizabeth Chapman and siblings, June Anderson and Betty Anne Todd. She is survived by her children, Elizabeth (Frank) and Jake (Lorraine); grandchildren, Finn, Georgia and James; husband, Jim; sisters, Barbara and Mary Allen; cousins, Jimmy Maye and Katie McGlade (Mac); sister-in-law, Judy Karasow (David); and many nieces and nephews.
The family expresses appreciation to the Bayada nurses who cared for Becky at home during 2020, with a special thanks to caregiver Sharon Goodman. We also thank the staff and skilled nursing support that Becky received at the Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, as well as the caregivers from Seasons Hospice.
All may celebrate Becky’s life by doing small acts of kindness. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, interment will be private.
The family suggests contributions to the Delaware Humane Society, 701 A Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 or First Presbyterian Church of Newark, 292 West Main Street, Newark, DE 19711 or the Alzheimer’s Association, 399 Market Street #250, Philadelphia, PA 19106 in lieu of flowers.