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July 22, 1917 - JUNE 6, 2014

Richard D. Chapin, age 96, founder of Chapin Watermatics Inc. and Chapin Living Waters Foundation, passed into the presence of the Lord on Friday, June 6, 2014.


He was born on a farm near Philadelphia, NY, on July 22, 1917. When he was 12 years old, his father built a small greenhouse for Richard to start a business known as Chapin’s Flowers, which operated in the city of Watertown for 55 years. After his marriage to Ruth Rathbun in 1938, Mrs. Chapin assumed bookkeeping duties and office management for Chapin's Flowers.


Dick and Ruth were charter members of Parkside Bible Church and were also active in the ministry of the Gideons. These groups challenged the Chapins to operate a business that would honor God in all of their dealings and trusted God to enable the business to bless others. Faith in Jesus was not just an idea, but a way of life, trusting God to lead them daily to work toward His greater purposes in sending the gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world. Dick developed the first commercial application of drip irrigation in 1960, and became known as the “Father of Drip Irrigation” with more than 25 U.S. patents to his credit. Dick credited all his inventions to God’s great mercy upon him.


In his retirement years, Dick founded Chapin Living Waters Foundation, and devoted himself full time to serving as its Executive Director until his death. The foundation is dedicated to helping the world’s poorest people grow fresh vegetables even where there is no rain. Dick developed a simple gravity-fed “Bucket Kit” which provides adequate moisture for a home vegetable garden during periods of drought. The foundation has provided Bucket Kits and training materials to humanitarian organizations working in about 150 countries. In 2006, Chapin Watermatics, the commercial business, was sold to Jain Irrigation with the provision that they would continue to provide the materials necessary for the Bucket Kits.


In addition to his efforts to feed the hungry of the world, Dick was committed to helping individuals who crossed his path in daily life. He found great joy in offering employment to students and others in need of a job. He supported many missionaries around the world.


Isaiah 43:18-19 says “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old, Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”


As we mourn the passing of our good friend and mentor, Mr. Dick Chapin, we are encouraged that God has promised a NEW THING. The ministry that was begun by Mr. Chapin will continue to bless many people around the world. Even as we are thankful for his amazing contribution, we know that he always wanted the glory to go to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that, indeed, a NEW THING has begun, and God will continue to use the bucket kits all over the world, not only to feed the hungry physically, but as a tool to bring the Living Water of Jesus to those who do not yet know Him.