Katherine “Kathy” Lee Schroeder Chapman

October 2, 1949 – August 29, 2022

A greatly giving life is undoubtedly the hardest to measure: those who exist outside it can not know its full extent; the one who lives inside it sees the generosity in others, not herself. Kathy lived that kind of life in full. Her generosity of spirit was the twin of her willingness to act in service of that generosity and that spirit in support of the lives of others. She offered help to others with scant regard for recognition or reward.

Her insistence on seeing the best in people most often had the effect we hope for when that attitude prevails–people give their very best in response. When they did not, it disappointed her but made her work harder to compensate for the loss. But she worked hard regardless of what others did. As anyone who knew her will tell you, she just wanted to get it right.

If you knew her well enough, she would tell you that it took time for her to develop the easy confidence that marked most of the years of her life. One of her favorite writers was once asked why she wrote, and she answered, “Because I’m good at it.” Kathy learned that her hard work was rewarding not only to her but to others she respected. They helped her know she was good at it.

The same was true with her friendships. She was always good at them, but she spread her net wider as she developed an ever-increasing group of people she was close to and trusted.

Kathy loved books and reading passionately, a gift she attributed to the influence of her Grandmother Schroeder. The joy of music was something, though learned early, expanded right through the last years of her life. She loved attending opera and art exhibits, delving into the minds and hearts of authors, composers, and artists.

Katherine Lee Schroeder Chapman left the world we know through our senses for the one she had begun preparing for since her early years at Choate Baptist Church. Her Christian beliefs were strong, but she humbly made room for the religious plurality of faiths in those she loved and those she did not know. She was born on October 2, 1949 in Beeville, Texas, the first child of Ada Bea and Bradley Schroeder; they settled at Choate, Texas. At seven, Kathy became a big sister to Steve, a man she treasured and respected from childhood.

Kathy graduated from Kenedy High School in 1967 destined for the big city. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in History & Government, and graduated in 1970. There she adopted the Presbyterian Student Union as a faith home. She always said that never in her life had she imagined a place where people could wake up each day and be whoever they wanted to be, but that in Austin, they could. Kathy obtained an M.A. in Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio—in their first graduating class—and was the only graduate to write a thesis, which she wrote on Texas Education law and diversity.

Kathy was fourth in her graduating class from St. Mary’s School of Law, also in San Antonio, and finished in their 27-month program. She loved the practice of law from her first days as an attorney to the last days of her life, reading law books for fun, and taking Continuing Legal Education in areas unfamiliar to her the week she died.

She began her career at the Texas Attorney General’s office as an Assistant Attorney General, representing the state of Texas in estate and trust litigation, always referring fondly to her boss John Hill. Kathy then worked for the University of Texas System in Austin, representing all the component institutions to protect their intellectual property in licensing to businesses. She was quietly proud of collaborating on the licensing of the Longhorn logo. She continued to gain expertise in IP law at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio as Associate General Counsel where she met lifelong friend JoBeth T. McLeod. She then served for sixteen years at UT Southwestern Medical School as Vice President for Legal Affairs, sitting on the President’s Executive Staff. Her boss there, John Sprague, was a beloved mentor in Kathy’s career. She managed all legal matters pertaining to the facility’s education, clinical care and supported medical research. She was honored to work with Lasker and Nobel laureates Brown and Goldstein (while very pregnant) on their pioneering statin drug development. A teacher at heart, she became an adjunct professor and Assistant Dean of Career Services at Texas Wesleyan School of Law (now Texas A&M), shepherding many students through the challenges of starting new careers in law midlife with the typical self-doubt and fears of all law students. Following an accident, Kathy relocated to her home town of Kenedy, Texas in 2005 and set up a general law practice on Main Street, where she learned at least ten new areas of law. She loved helping families negotiate what they most wanted out of real estate transactions, oil leases, custody disagreements, estate planning, and for the last almost ten years, serving as a Wilson County Assistant County Attorney doing their civil law. She was a second generation member of the Kenedy Ladies Progressive Club (“Study Club”), gave love and guidance to the Guadalupe Valley Family Violence Shelter, and, like her forebears, worked at the Kenedy and Choate cemeteries assuring the cleanliness and beauty of the physical spaces of loved ones passed.

Although she died unexpectedly in a car accident, the family is deeply grateful for and takes enormous comfort in the actions and love of the first responders who were with her as she fought to live. She was surrounded by friends just doing their jobs in service to the counties and its people. For those individuals who may not be known, the family owes a debt of utmost thankfulness.

Kathy was preceded in death by her grandparents Walter and Ernestine Schroeder, Ada and Collie Baker, by her mother Ada Bea Schroeder, and by her sister Cynthia Schroeder and brother David Schroeder, both of whom died in infancy. She is survived by her daughter Katherine Jean “Kate” Chapman, her father Bradley Schroeder, her brother Steven Schroeder, her nephew Lucas Schroeder, her nieces Elyssa and Amanda Schroeder, and many cousins. She is also survived by her former husband and friend David K. Chapman and many close friends.

Visitation will be held Saturday, September 3, 2022 from 10 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. with Servives at 2:00 P.M. at The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church with the Rev. Wally Schievelbein and Rev. Dr. Jobeth McLeod officiating. Interment will follow in the Choate Cemetery in Choate, TX.