James A. Chapman, Jr. (1921–1983)
James Alfred Chapman, Jr., was born September 30, 1921, in Inman, one of five sons of James A. and Martha Marshall Chapman. The boys were provided a Christian home and instilled with the motivation to succeed and serve.
On the day before his death on November 9, 1983, Chapman, chairman of Inman Mills, received the Spartanburg County Board of Realtors' Distinguished Citizen Award. His younger brother, Hugh, then chairman of Citizens & Southern National Corporation, in accepting the award for him, paid tribute to their parents. He spoke of the joy of their early lives and the family bond that brought them all happiness and success.
Pointing to the Thomas J. Peters–Robert H. Waterman, Jr., book, In Search of Excellence, which concludes that all great companies are people-oriented and have a corporate culture that stresses quality and service, he said:
"Our father had another word: stewardship, which to him meant giving of your time and your talents, as well as your resources. We, the family, submit these virtues have been James' creed in all his endeavors, and we join you in honoring him as the Man of Every Year."
He attended Davidson College, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta social fraternity, and graduated in 1943 with a degree in chemistry. After graduation, he went to work with the family's Inman Mills in Inman, a textile manufacturing company founded by his grandfather in 1902. He worked at Inman for eight months before going to Pacific Mills in Columbia as a time-study engineer.
On June 2, 1945, he married Martha Lenoir Cloud, daughter of Fayette Jeffries and Mary Chambless Dryer Cloud of Lilesville, North Carolina, in the First Methodist Church in Wadesboro, North Carolina. Jim and Martha met while she was attending Converse College.
They resided in Columbia until 1946, when Chapman returned to Inman Mills as a trainee. As Inman Mills grew, he was given more responsibility. In 1947, he was named plant manager, and he served in that capacity until 1954, when he became vice president. Ten years later, he was named president and treasurer, and in 1978 he became chairman of the board and chief executive officer, positions he held until his death.
Recognized as one of the textile industry's most effective and articulate spokesmen, Chapman was president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute at the time of his death. He devoted a tremendous amount of time and energy to industry affairs, frequently traveling to Washington to meet with government officials regarding international trade and government regulatory problems. He made a number of trips abroad on behalf of the industry and was in Sweden when he became ill.
A strong believer in the positive story of the textile industry, he helped initiate and promote the industry's "Crafted with Pride in the U.S.A." program.
In addition to his leadership in the ATMI, he served as president of the Southern Textile Association and the South Carolina Textile Manufacturers Association. He also served as president of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
Chapman was a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Textile Hall Corporation in Greenville, the National Association of Manufacturers, and Citizens & Southern National Bank of South Carolina. He resigned from the C&S board when his brother, Hugh, became chairman.
Jim Chapman was a member of the board of trustees of Presbyterian College for 10 years, serving as chairman from 1970 to 1973. He also served as a trustee and chairman of the Spartanburg County Foundation and the South Carolina Foundation for Independent Colleges, as a member of the board of trustees of the J. E. Sirrine Foundation, and as a trustee and chairman of the Inman–Riverdale Foundation.
He was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree by Presbyterian College in 1975 and an honorary doctor of laws degree by Wofford College in 1976. He also received the David Clark Award from the Southern Textile Manufacturers Association in 1968 and the United States Jaycees' Distinguished Service Award in 1973.
A member and elder of First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, he served on three pulpit committees during a period of 30 years. He was moderator of the Enoree Presbytery in 1963.
Jim and Martha Chapman were the parents of four children: Mary, Marshall, Dorothy, and the late James A. Chapman III.
Chapman was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 1987. His brother, Hugh, entered the Business Hall of Fame in 1996.
© 1999 South Carolina Business Hall of Fame