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Laniel Chapman

West Columbia, SC - A memorial service for Vester Laniel Chapman, 86, will be held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at First Baptist Church of Belton. The family will receive friends Tuesday, October 31, 2017 from 12:30 until 1:45 p.m. at the church. A visitation will be held Monday, October 30, 2017 from 5:30 until 7:00 p.m. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, Columbia. Burial will be private in M.J. "Dolly" Cooper Cemetery, in Anderson. 

Mr. Chapman, formerly of Belton, S.C. passed away Friday, October 27, 2017 at Laurel Crest Assisted Living in West Columbia. Born in Pelzer, S.C. on September 17, 1931, he was a son of the late Vester Chapman and Ruth Idella Martin Chapman. 

Laniel was a 1957 graduate of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, TN, where he received a BS Degree. He went to graduate school at the University of Georgia and graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1961 with a JD Degree. He served in the United States National Guard for five years and in the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1955. Laniel ran a private law practice from 1962 until 2016 and was a senior partner at Chapman & Yon, LLP in Anderson. He was admitted to the United States District Court, District of South Carolina; Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; and United States Supreme Court. Mr. Chapman was a member of First Baptist Church of Belton, where he served as a Deacon. 

Laniel held many elected offices during his career. He served as an Assistant Solicitor from 1968-1972 and Solicitor from 1972-1977 for the Tenth Judicial Circuit. He served as President of the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association and Anderson County Bar Association, and the American Board of Trial Advocates, South Carolina Chapter. He was elected Highway Commissioner for District 10 for South Carolina Department of Highway and Public Transportation in 1990, serving as the Chairman from 1993-1994. 

Laniel was also a member of many organizations including the American Bar Association, South Carolina Bar Association, Anderson County Bar Association where he served as President, American Trial Lawyers Association, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and Southern Trial Lawyers Association. He was a member of South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Association of South Carolina Claimant Attorneys for Workers Compensation where he was on the Executive Committee and was a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference. 

Mr. Chapman participated in many civic activities, serving on the Anderson Area Medical Center Foundation Board, was a Chairman of the Anderson County Courthouse Authority, the Wachovia Bank Board of Directors, the Belton Lions Club, and the Anderson Rotary Club. He was a member of the Carson-Newman College Advisory Board, a Trustee of Carson-Newman College, a founding member of Carson-Newman VIP Golf Tournament and received the Carson Newman College Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2004. Laniel was a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the University of South Carolina School of Law Alumni Board, an Executive Committee member of Anderson College Board of Trustees, and a founding member of Anderson University VIP Golf Tournament. He served as a member of Anderson University Foundation Board, a member of Anderson University Board of Visitors, and a member of Anderson University Board of Trustees. Laniel was Chairman of G. Ross Anderson, Jr. Moot Court Fundraiser for the University of South Carolina School of Law, and Chairman of the G. Ross Anderson, Jr. Scholarship Committee for Anderson University. He was also a member of the South Carolina Migratory Waterfowl Commission and a President of Ducks Unlimited for Anderson County. 

Mr. Chapman received the Annie Denmark Award in 2001 and was named an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 2003, both awarded by Anderson University. The Honorable Jim Hodges, Governor of South Carolina, honored Mr. Chapman with the prestigious Order of the Palmetto in 2003. 

Surviving are his wife of 60 years, Vivian B. Chapman; daughters, Lisa C. Robinson (Jon) and Gina C. Earle (Bill); grandchildren, Elizabeth D. Brittain (Preston), Chapman D. Archer (Jordan), Lauren R. Dunbar, Catherine S. Dunbar, Vivian Alexandria Williams, and Jones Hampton Williams; two great-grandsons, Preston Dunbar Brittain and Andrew Magnus Brittain; sister, Dr. Patsy C. Smith (Dr. Sidney P. Smith, Jr.); nephews, Dr. Sidney P. Smith III (Colleen) and Dr. Shanon D. Smith (Shelley); and numerous cousins. 

Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church of Belton, 105 Brown Avenue, Belton, SC 29627; or Anderson University, V. Laniel Chapman Scholarship Fund, 316 Boulevard, Anderson, SC 29621. 

Please sign the online guestbook at

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