Steve Joseph Chapla, 86, died Oct. 17, 2002 in Kalispell, Mont. He was born Sept. 11, 1916 in Ironwood, Mich. to Alojzy and Antonina (Lenart) Czapla.
As a young boy, Steve became a ward of the state and was raised in a Catholic orphanage.
In his mid-teens, Chapla worked as a farmhand, and attended school through the eighth grade.
He was self-taught in many areas including music, and he became an accomplished player of the concertina.
Chapla was also an accomplished lapidary worker, builder and contractor, and was a trained paramedic.
Chapla served in Northern Africa and Italy during World War II where he was severely wounded.
He married Donna June Olson on Jan. 27, 1945 after spending a year in the hospital. The family lived in Elkhart, Ind. until 1973 when they moved to Payson.
Chapla loved wildlife, and used to hunt deer and pheasant. He delighted in watching and feeding birds.
He was a fine craftsman and made pearl shell carvings and jewelry for family and friends.
Chapla had a strong interest in the political, military and financial affairs of our country, and followed current events right up to his death.
Survivors include his wife, Donna June of Payson; two sons, Dennis Chapla and Bryan and Dawn Chapla of South Bend, Ind.; three daughters, Lauretta and Al Shiya of Payson, Jackie and Ben Van Dyke of Kalispell, Mt., and Donna Chapla of Denver, Colo.; two brothers, Alex Kobiec of Cibolo, Texas, and Chester Chapla of South Bend, Ind.; two sisters, LaDine Toth and Betty Budde of Orlando, Fla.; 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, four sisters and one grandson, Antony Shiya of Payson.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 at Messinger Payson Funeral Home, 302 W. Aero Drive, followed by interment at Mountain Meadows Memorial Park.
Arrangements were handled by Johnson Mortuary and Crematory and Messinger Payson Funeral Home respectively.