Cleveland H. Chappell, Jr.

Published 6:04 pm Sunday, February 26, 2023

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GATES, NC – Cleveland Hubert “Cleve” Chappell, Jr., 87, of Gates, NC, passed away on Friday, February 24, 2023 with family by his side.

A lifelong resident of Gates County where he was born on May 10, 1935, he was the son of the late Cleveland H., Sr. and Annie Sue Harrell Chappell. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Sara Leigh Byrum Chappell; their daughter, Wanda Leigh Chappell; and by his brother, Carl Harrell Chappell.

A graduate of Gatesville High School, Class of 1954, where he developed many lasting friendships, he later served in the United States Army and was a proud veteran of his service. He retired from Union Camp Corporation, now International Paper, after 40 years of employment.

Cleve was a faithful member of Middle Swamp Baptist Church where he served as Superintendent of Sunday School and on the Board of Deacons. He enjoyed singing in the church choir for 50 years, and was honored each time he was asked to sing solos, especially “How Great Thou Art”, at churches throughout the county.

Cleve enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s sporting events and theatre productions and laughed alongside them through many marathon Old Maid card games. He enjoyed weekly men’s supper group outings, traveling throughout Europe with Sara, and pampering their cocker spaniel, Kola. He was a tried and true Tar Heel fan. Passionate about music, he was swift on his feet tap dancing, line dancing or gliding across an entire dance floor.

Throughout his life, Cleve nurtured a love for the game of golf. He enjoyed the sport whether driving balls across the pasture, celebrating a hole-in-one and other victories, or playing with friends at Beechwood Country Club. He loved sharing stories of the frustrations and joys of golfing and was grateful for the friendships that developed with his golfing buddies.

He is survived by his daughter, Elaine Chappell Perry and son-in-law, Dr. John Ethwell Ramsey Perry, III of Raleigh, NC; four grandchildren, Olivia Perry of Charlotte, John E.R. Perry, IV of Denver, CO, Isabel Perry of Los Angeles, CA, and Hugh Perry of Raleigh; and by his brother, Bobby Ray Chappell of Suffolk, VA.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, February 28 at 11:00 a.m. in Middle Swamp Baptist Church and will be conducted by his pastor, The Reverend Burt Pearce. The burial, with military honors, will follow in the church cemetery.

Friends are invited to visit with the family in the social hall immediately following the service.

Flowers are welcomed, or contributions in his memory may be made to: The Arts and Sciences Foundation, 523 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, (please designate The Wanda Chappell Scholarship, 107477, in memory of Cleve H. Chappell, Jr. on the memo line of your check); or to Middle Swamp Baptist Church, in care of Kellie Lane, P.O. Box 485, Gatesville, NC 27938.

Miller Funeral Home, 304 Main Street, Gatesville, is assisting the family with arrangements and online condolences may be made by visiting