MDI loses champion

BAR HARBOR — Local attorney Douglas B. Chapman, 79, of Bar Harbor died peacefully on July 19. He had an outsized impact on the town in his more than 40 years living, practicing law and working closely here with local governments, nonprofits and the Catholic Church.

Chapman was born in Bangor and moved here in 1964 to join the late Bill Fenton and Ed Smith at the law firm now known as Fenton, Chapman, Wheatley & Kane.

“He represented David Rockefeller and he also – and he was so proud of this – represented the clam diggers,” said his widow, Aileen Chapman.

He genuinely cared about his clients, friends and neighbors, she said.

“He continued working right up until two weeks before he passed. He woke up in the morning wanting to get to the office. I used to kid him and say, ‘A hit man could so easily get you because of your routine!’”

On his way into the office every morning, he would stop at the town pier to chat with any of the lobstermen who were around.

“If you want to know about Doug, look at his friends,” attorney Nat Fenton, Bill Fenton’s son, said this week. “They came from all walks of life and are an amazing testament. “He had a friend in the FBI, state police officers from his days as a district attorney, friends in his church, the guy at the garage who fixes his big Cadillac he always had.”

Fenton remembers Chapman’s regular retreats to a Trappist monastery in Worcester, Mass., from which he would return with gifts of jam made by the monks there.

Chapman was instrumental in economic development efforts in Bar Harbor in the 1970s as well as with zoning and planning for future development. He also had a hand in the founding or support of a long list of nonprofits, including the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Malvern Belmont, Catholic Charities Maine and the Washington County Vocational Technical Institute.

“He was a bulldog, but that’s how he made things happen,” Aileen Chapman said. “He would move in very strongly and accomplish things and then step back and let the other people take the lead.”

See full obituary on page 4.

A mass will be celebrated Monday, Aug. 8, at 11 a.m. at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Bar Harbor. A gathering to celebrate and honor Doug’s life will be held afterwards at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, Seal Harbor. Condolences may be expressed at





Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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