by Percival A. Friend

(The EPITOME of Wrestling Managers)

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Linda and Billy Chapman
Linda & Billy Chapman

Billy Earl Chapman

This week's column is not about another wrestler that has had an impact on my life. It is about a friend that I have known only a few short months but now has gone to that big center stage in the sky.

Billy Earl Chapman was a veteran of the services. He was a truck driver, and he was a musician by trade. He was married to Linda Klein, daughter of Lou Klein, who fought many battles in the ring for nearly five decades.

Billy was a songwriter and composer that helped a lot of big name stars. They make plenty of money, but he rarely saw any of it because of his kind heart. He gave of himself and never gained national recognition. He pretty much wanted to stay close to home and be by the love of his life … Linda.

Some of his songs on CD are available by writing to Linda at Titles like "Close Encounters", "You Can Run But You Can't Hide", "Best of Big Lake", and "Life is Fragile, Handle With Prayer" are just some of the albums. I am sure that your support will be welcome.

Billy lost his life this past week after having his esophagus explode and bleeding to death internally in a veteran's hospital in Florida. Please remember Linda and Billy in your prayers, as they were two friends that made my life a little better by knowing them.

M.R. Severance of the Fort Myers Digest wrote of Billy...

"If you took and threw Delbert McClinton, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett and Wilford Brimley in a cement mixer and turned it on high for a while, Billy Earl is likely what would emerge when it stopped. Here is a voice filled with experience and living.

"His songs tell the stories that we all experience sooner or later. They are told with humor and sometimes sadness, but always with believability that shows us that he has been there and done that.

"Billy Earl laughs, cries, smiles and opens his heart on a wide array of subjects. The power of his lyrics makes us feel, along with him, while our feet keep time by themselves. On subjects from bar rooms to karaoke, to the birth of Jesus Christ, we understand exactly what he is about.

"Pickup trucks and honky tonks are too often the empty staples of country music. Anything for a rhyme to carry the tune, but Billy Earl has a lot to say and share. His principals are clear whether it's about Patriotism, Friendship, or the hypocrisy of a televangelist preacher with his hand out.

"To say his songs are 'Gritty' would be unfair to the quality of his music. His rich freight train of a voice is perfectly suited to the captivating soul of his songs. This is GOOD music worth hearing again and again."

Rest in Peace, MY FRIEND...

If you desire to send a card of sympathy or something to help with final expenses, here is the address.

Linda Chapman
13114 N. E. 26th Ave.
Okeechobee, Florida 34972

Percival A. Friend, Retired
The Epitome of Wrestling Managers

Gardner, Valiant and Murphy
John Gardner, Jimmy Valiant and Gerry Murphy of GFM Enterprises, at the BWC

(MIDI Musical Selection: "Before The Next Teardrop Falls")

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