Fay L Chaplin


image of Fay L Chaplin

Fay L Chaplin

Fay Lillian Burgett Chaplin passed away peacefully at the age of 102 at her home in Des Moines, WA, after a short time in hospice care.

Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land.                                                      Exodus 20:12

Born in Sioux City, IA, to Milbray Parker Burgett and Eva Anna Myers Burgett, Fay was the sixth of ten children. She was raised in Sioux City, IA, with a short time in Wisconsin.

She married Glen O. Chaplin, of De Soto, IA, in 1942. After he returned from his war service in Europe, they lived on the family farm with his parents and their own two children, Jeanette and Keith. From there, Glen’s new job took them to Sioux City, where they stayed until both children graduated from high school.

She leaves behind her daughter, Jeanette Chaplin of Des Moines, WA; son, Keith, of Apache Junction, AZ; former son-in-law, Bruce Mosier, of Sioux City; grandchildren Rachelle Mosier White of Grand Junction, IA, Brent (Donna) Chaplin of Scottsdale, AZ, Andrea (Jeffrey) Mosier Berkley of West Seattle, WA, Kirk (Lori) Chaplin of Scottsdale; and five great-grandchildren, Dylan, Conor, and Logan Chaplin and Aria Fay and Joseph “Joey” Berkley, who knew her as Gaga. She will be missed by countless friends, neighbors, and charges, notably Phoebe, Lee, and Becky.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Glen Oscar Chaplin, of Phoenix, AZ, in 2001; her parents; all her siblings and their first spouses; Glen’s parents and siblings; the husband of her granddaughter Rachelle (Donny); several nieces and nephews; and most of her life-long friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

Fay’s life was all about family, friends, church, neighbors, community, travel, politics, helping others, and, above all, music. Her father was an itinerant preacher, traveling around the country, with his children providing the music.

Fay was the first of her sisters to learn to drive a car. She taught herself to play the guitar. She got a job and went out on her own long before other young women of her era. She willingly joined family and friends with activities such as picnics in the park or at a neighbor’s house, sledding, swimming, camping, and hiking.

Two celebrities that she counted among her personal encounters were Lawrence Welk, who asked her for a recipe, and the sculptor who designed Mt. Rushmore.
She never shied away from adventure.

  • During the war, she drove hundreds of miles with an infant to be with her husband in Texas until he was shipped out to Europe.
  • Family vacations included trips to Iowa’s West Bend Grotto, Chicago, Illinois, and the Black Hills of South Dakota as well as visits to family around the country.
  • Years later, she visited her daughter, Jeanette, who was serving as a missionary in Monterrey, Mexico. Fay was recruited by one of the missionaries to help drive a vehicle to the border in the middle of the night on unfamiliar and treacherous highways.
  • After retirement, she and Glen traveled around the country. Their visits to friends and family took them from Florida to Michigan and into Canada, as well as to Texas, Arizona, and California. They arrived in the Pacific Northwest shortly after the Mount St. Helens eruption. One trip included granddaughters Rachelle and Andrea.

Fay at Age 16

In keeping with the times, Fay’s father believed that girls should get married and raise a family, so his daughters were required to drop out of school after meeting Iowa’s legal requirement of completing 8th grade. Fay never gave up her dream of graduating. She earned her GED in her 50s, just in time to work as a 1970 census taker.

She was the go-to person when anyone was in need. She could be relied on to lend a helping hand whether people needed cookies for a party, emergency babysitting, care for elderly or the ill, a place to stay, housework, or help while recovering from the birth of a new baby.

Her extended family celebrated often, planning get-togethers with nearby relatives and reunions with those farther away. Those times were joyous with good food, laughter, and cousins filling the house and yard. The highlight was always singing around the piano.

Never idle, she could always be found cooking, baking, sewing, recovering and restoring furniture, quilting, planning a silly skit for a program, helping in the church nursery, teaching in vacation Bible school, or canning apples or cherries and fresh vegetables from her husband’s garden.

Her main job, by choice, was caring for her family and raising her two children, along with keeping an eye on the neighborhood children. She managed to pick up a variety of side jobs: sales rep for household products, server at the exclusive Normandy restaurant, bookkeeping, and retail sales. After retirement, she and Glen worked at a motel in Texas.

Towards the end of her life, she had forgotten much of what made her life meaningful. She still asked about Glen and her family and often felt the need to be doing something to help. She retained her peaceful spirit until the end.


One Hundred First Birthday


A small, private celebration of life will be held locally. Arrangements are pending for a memorial later on in Sioux City, IA, to bury her ashes and those of her late husband, Glen.

Contributions can be made in her honor to Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Heal our Patriots. The link will soon be available at https://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/memorial-giving/. Family can be contacted through Jeanette Chaplin, PO Box 98192, Des Moines, WA 98198 or by email at:




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