Albert B. Chipman III
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Albert Byron Chipman III, Pioneer of Retail Store Design, disabled World War II veteran, District Rotary Governor, Championship Master Swimmer and City Councilman, passed away Friday evening in Schaumburg.
Albert was born April 29, 1922 in Rochester. He grew up in Plymouth, where his father was the Marshall County Judge. The family lived across from the iconic Midwestern courthouse located on the square in the middle of town where his father presided over court.
He was a musician playing the clarinet, attending Culver Summer Naval School on a music scholarship. He attended the University of Michigan, and played in their marching band and joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. All his life, his true fascination was in painting, drawing and illustrating which motivated him to attend the University of Michigan school of Architecture and Design where he was recognized as Student Designer of the Year in 1944 as well as winning sculpture awards from The Detroit Institute of the Arts.
While at the University, Albert joined the ROTC and after his junior year in college was sent to North Africa to head up a platoon as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 442nd Japanese-American Regiment of the 34th Infantry Division. As Albert stated: “My platoon of Japanese Americans fought with tremendous effort at a time when they were striving to regain their sense of respectability in our great country.” The 442nd became the most highly–decorated regiment in the history of the United States Armed Forces, including 21 Medal of Honor recipients. Their platoon fought their way up into Italy and it was near Pisa where Albert was injured by a German mortar explosion. Albert lost most of his left leg but and was awarded a Purple Heart. Despite the severe injury, he was able to return to the University to complete his education.
Prior to leaving his departure for the war, he married Esther Guntley and upon his return he and Esther moved to New York City where Albert was a furniture designer for Hans Knoll Associates. He later moved back to the Midwest and worked as an interior store planner for Grand Rapids Store Equipment. In 1952. Albert moved to Northwest Indiana and opened his own business in the Chicago loop working in the retail store design field for more than 40 years. His clients included Carson Pirie Scott and Company, Hart Schaffner and Marx, Karol’s Red Hanger stores, Kline’s Department Stores among many other independent retailers throughout the Midwest. In 1979, his younger son, John, joined Albert's business which continues to thrive to this day.
During the ’70s and ’80s, Albert became interested in Rotary International and was a charter member of the newly established O’Hare Airport Rotary Club becoming president in 1976 and 1977. He then became District Governor in 1981 and 1982 overseeing 55 Rotary Clubs in and around Chicago with 3500 members.
In 1986 Albert and Esther decided to move to Indian Harbor Beach, Fla. and Albert took up swimming and became a member of the Space Coast Masters Swim Group in 1990. At the age of 81, Albert became one of the most highly regarded master swimmers in Florida. He competed for the gold medal in the Short and Long Course Championships in the Senior Games in Florida. He traveled west to St. George, Utah several times competing in the Huntsman World Senior Games winning numerous first and second place medals. In an article written about Albert in the local paper Carol Beebe, the founder and executive director of the Senior Games said, “Its humbling and inspiring to watch Albert swim, an athlete who lost his left leg for his country and has developed arthritis in his right knee.” Albert never complained about his disability.
In Florida, Albert was president of Parkside Place where he and Esther lived as well as continuing Rotary as a member of the Melbourne Beach Rotary Club and attending the Cocoa Beach Methodist Church.
At the age of 83, Albert was elected to the Indian Harbor Beach City Council where he served until he and Esther moved to Friendship Village in Schaumburg, Ill. Albert and Esther were married for 64 years, Esther passing away in 2007.
Survivors include his two sons, Philip (Laina) of Costa Mesa, Calif., and John (Debbie) of Chicago; his daughter Nancy (Mitchel) Shlaes of Homewood, Ill.; and his brother, Eugene (Ida) Chipman of Plymouth.
A memorial service will be held in the Spring.
Memorial gifts may be given in his memory to the First United Methodist Church, 400 N. Michigan St., Plymouth, IN, 46563
Notes of condolence may be sent to the family through the web-site: www.johnson-danielson.com.