Kathleen Chapman | B.A. (Hons). L.L.B., AccFm (OAFM), CP Med
Kathleen Ann Chapman passed away peacefully on August 28, 2020. She will be dearly missed by her husband of 42 years Brian Parsons, daughters Christina (Tyler) and Alanna (Chris), her four grandsons Arthur, Luca, George and Owen, her sisters Mandy (Pete) and Joan, along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Born September 23, 1947 in London, England, Kathleen was the first child of Ron and Pearl Chapman, followed by siblings Peter, Ann, Joan and Mandy. The family moved to London, Ontario in 1957.
A tireless community builder and advocate for vulnerable communities, Kathleen was particularly passionate about supporting low-income families and mothers and children in violent situations. Her integrity and values guided her daily and shined throughout her life.
Called to the bar in 1976, Kathleen was only the second woman to practice family law in London, Ontario. In the early 1980’s she successfully represented Ontario’s first openly gay mother to obtain custody of her child, winning again when the decision was appealed. She also successfully represented a father, helping him obtain custody at a time when legal doctrine was to award custody of children under the age of seven to their mother.
Kathleen believed that mediation would reduce the trauma she saw inflicted on children and families by an adversarial, rigid, and costly legal court process. She founded The Family Mediation Centre in 1983 and began providing government-funded mediation services in London in 1995. By 2011, she was responsible for mediation services in almost half of all family courts in Ontario (including co-directing 11 courts across northern Ontario) through which thousands of families found support.
Kathleen had an infectiously positive spirit, never-ending energy, and a big heart. She approached every day as a new adventure, and valued every hour she could spend learning, travelling, and being with her children and grandchildren. She was well known for hosting elaborate dinner parties and for her distinctive, infectious laugh that could be heard across the room.
Towards the end of her life, Kathleen expressed tremendous gratitude for a very blessed life: a happy childhood, a career that allowed her to focus on things that she felt were important, and incredible family and friends. She drew comfort from a strong spiritual base, and the joy that comes from a life well lived. She will be remembered as a wonderful partner, mother, grandmother and friend.