Ann Sutherland Chappell

Ann Sutherland Chappell, family matriarch, community advocate, and professional communicator, died Feb. 25 after a 3.5-year battle against cancer. The past president of the Limpia Crossing Neighborhood Association loved entertaining in the mountain home that she designed and built over a several year period.

Ann and her husband David have long been active in leadership roles with the McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors, and supporters of KRTS 93.5 FM, the region’s public radio station. She volunteered many hours with the region’s nonprofit and arts organizations.

Her philosophy is best described as “one must reach out, lead the way, and do” as exemplified by the decades she served at all organizational levels of Habitat for Humanity, the international nonprofit that brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

Important to her was how Habitat homeowners help to build or improve their own homes, working with volunteers. Ann led the build-out of scores of modest houses for disparate families.  Through the years she was a board member and president of Trinity Habitat for Humanity; charter board member, Habitat Texas; and founder, North Texas Council of Habitats. Always working to broaden community relationships, she represented the U.S. on a Habitat Global Village trip to Budapest, Hungary.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Davis, Trinity Habitat; MD Anderson CART-T program; and Cancer Care Services of Fort Worth.

Ann was born Aug. 10, 1943, in San Antonio, Texas of Scots/Irish descent and sixth generation Texan. Her ancestral grandfather fought in the Texas Revolution. She earned a BA and Master’s in communications from the University of Texas at Austin, where she met her husband David.  They were married in 1966.

As a professional communicator, she used words to bring people together, to connect diverse persons of all religions and nationalities. With her church family, she traveled to Honduras and Haiti on medical mission trips, and she supported her church youth on their summer mission trips to San Antonio, New Mexico, and southern Colorado.

Church music inspired her. It was foundational for her in everyday life. Ann was a member of First Presbyterian’s Chancel, Fellowship, and Hemphill Choirs, as well as a church elder. She was a member of Junior League, often serving as a training and communications resource for new members. In 1998, she received the Outstanding Alumna Award from UT’s Moody College of Communications. Most recently she and David endowed an annual symposium for volunteers in leadership roles.

The well-spoken but direct volunteer was the youngest member on the Texas Constitutional Review Commission in the early 1970s. The Fort Worth Commission on the Status of Women recognized her as an outstanding community volunteer in 1996. The Fort Worth Business Press named her an Outstanding Woman of Texas in 2014.  

Ann’s life values included her family, church, music, the right to vote, and respect for all.  She believed in the greatness of people and their ability to love one another. 

Ann is survived by David; their two children, Libbey Paige Chappell Pritchett, married to John Murrin Pritchett, and Wade Garrett Chappell, married to Camilla Blair Jackson Chappell.  Among her greatest joys were her four grandchildren (in birth order and whose families all live in Fort Worth), Caroline Beall Chappell, Lillian Carolina Pritchett, John Murrin Pritchett, Jr., and Sutherland Watts Chappell. Also living is her brother, John Sutherland of San Antonio and sister, Evelee Heit of Belton, Texas.