SOUTH PORTLAND — William “Bill” Chaplin, 61, of 35 Pillsbury St., South Portland, passed away Jan. 14, after a long, courageous battle with cancer.
Bill was born in Lewiston, March 17, 1951. He attended Auburn schools and graduated from the University of Maine, Orono, in 1973, with a degree in history. He belonged to Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity and had many life-long friends from his college days.
Bill’s passion was always music. He played the drums for several local bands during high school and college. After college, he was drawn to San Francisco to pursue his musical career. Bill played drums with many West Coast bands, including “Road Hog,” which featured Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. They produced an album “Tiger Ros” that was critically acclaimed. He also played with Carlos Santana, the Doobie Brothers, Michael MacDonald and Taj Mahal, to name a few, and with some of the blues greats as well.
He worked in the music industry when not playing or on the road. As an example of Bill’s love of music, despite worsening health issues, Bill never missed a New Orleans Jazz Fest in 31 years. After San Francisco, he worked as a roofer in Bend, Ore., and played for local bands there.
In 1979, Bill returned to L-A and worked for TEK Bearing as a salesman, where he had to use his skills as a practical engineer. He made numerous friends through his work and music all over Central Maine.
After moving to South Portland, Bill began working with developmentally delayed children in the South Portland School System. He was patient and kind with his students. Bill was especially proud of teaching one child to read when no on else could.
Along with his passion for music, Bill loved cars and motorcycles, the San Francisco 49er’s, cowboy boots and hats and being with family and friends at Indian Point in Georgetown. Bill chose to live his life in his own unconventional way. He touched many people’s lives and made lots of people laugh.
Survivors include his partner, Sandi Huntington of South Portland; his brother, Jim Chaplin and his wife, Diane, of Auburn; his sister, Anne (Chaplin) Gould and her husband, David, of Kennebunk; his sister, Sarah (Chaplin) Isaacson of Georgetown; his aunt and uncle, Elizabeth (Tufts) Goodrich and her husband, Barkley, of Falmouth; and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
Bill was predeceased by his parents, Joseph and Virginia (Tufts) Chaplin of Auburn and Georgetown.