Domingo Farias Chapa was born December 20, 1923, to Juan and Modesta Chapa in Atascosa County. He was raised during the Great Depression of the ‘30s, achieved a third-grade education and at 18 years old volunteered to serve in the US Navy. He rode a train to Mare Island Shipyard in San Francisco Ca. and was assigned to The USS Potawatomi ATF 109, a minesweeper. That ship took him across the equator and to the South Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Guam, Saipan and eventually to Tokyo Bay, Japan. He was sent to Nagasaki and Hiroshima after the atomic bombs were dropped to “take inventory.” He said he wasn’t sure what to count because there wasn’t much there.
He was honorably discharged after the end of WW 2 and returned home to start his trucking and harvest business with his dad, brother and eventually his youngest son Mario Chapa. They remained in business for over 50 years together, traveling all over the country picking cotton and harvesting watermelons and peanuts for farmers in Texas and Oklahoma. Many Atascosa County youth worked for Domingo throughout the years traveling to Oklahoma to work for the summer, but most of them went because he would take them to Six Flags in Dallas.
Shortly after returning home after the war, he married Josephine Salinas, through thick and thin they built a life and a legacy of four children, Arturo, Modesta, Senaida and Mario. They raised a family together and remained loyal to each other for 60 years.
Papo taught us to get up early, work hard, make something out of nothing, but most of all he taught us how to love, be kind and be humble. He was a simple man who taught us to appreciate the small things in life, like a fresh watermelon or cantaloupe in the field when the sun is coming up in the morning, he loved over-easy eggs, with bacon and Josie’s fresh tortillas, but hotcakes were his favorite.
Born and raised in South Texas he naturally loved to deer hunt and fish; he was a natural outdoorsman. Although he never played any sports that I’m aware of, his love of baseball remained till the last day of his life. There wasn’t a day that he wasn’t watching a baseball game on tv.
Papo lived a colorful life full of many achievements, one he was proud of was being the oldest living veteran in Atascosa County. He had friends everywhere he went, he was a proud American Patriot, an entrepreneur, a living history book, but most of all he was the center of our family, our hero, an example of a great, faithful, honorable man.
He was our rock to the very end.
We will all miss him dearly every day, but we are confident in knowing his strong Catholic faith took him straight to heaven where he was greeted by so many loved ones who went before him, including his loving wife Josephine, oldest son Arturo and son-inlaw Joe Guerra.
Domingo is survived by one sister, Guadalupe Vasquez of Illinois, his daughters, Modesta and husband Robert Gonzales, Senaida Guerra, his youngest son and business partner, Mario Chapa and wife Tina, 12 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, September 16, from 2-7 p.m. with the reciting of the rosary at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew Catholic Church. Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, September 17, at St. Andrew Catholic Church followed by interment in San Ysidro Cemetery.
Fair winds and following seas, God Speed Sailor …