- About Us
Carol Jean Chipman Chamberlain, 91, founder of Manatee Children’s Services, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and lifelong child advocate, died February 22, 2018 in Bradenton after a long illness.
She was born May 20, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up there, where her father, Dr. W. A. Chipman, was a surgeon. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Michigan State University, where she met her husband, Donald E. Chamberlain, a World War II Army pilot, in 1946. They married in 1948. He resumed a military career, and through military assignments that placed the family in nine U.S. states, Japan and Germany, she managed their growing family including two sons and two daughters, while also serving every community where they lived in roles such as Girl Scout leader, teacher and Red Cross volunteer.
After her husband retired from the U.S. Army in 1970, they moved to Bradenton, where she made a life-changing and lasting impact as a child advocate. As a child abuse investigator and protective services worker for abused or neglected children, she saw first-hand the need for more local services, especially an emergency shelter home.
In 1977 she founded Manatee Children’s Services, which raised money and built the needed shelters and much more in decades following. The Manatee Children’s Services administration building is dedicated to her.She advocated for children also as a Guardian Ad Litem, and was honored for her work by the Manatee Community Council for Children.
She loved our country and our military, was proud to be the wife of a career Army officer and aviator, and once championed the passage of a Florida law giving property tax exemptions to disabled veterans. She was a charter member and lay leader at Faith United Church of Christ, where she sang in the choir, and a life member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board. In 2009, at 83, she received the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award for her community service, riding in the Martin Luther King Day parade through Palmetto.
She enjoyed her family photo albums, travel, letter-writing, drawing, crewel embroidery and working out at the YMCA. Across the years she was active also in the Retired Officers’ Association, League of Women Voters, Order of the Eastern Star, and Daughters of the American Revolution.
She was predeceased by her parents, Willard and Isabel Chipman, her brother and sister, and her husband.
She is survived by her four children, Philip K. Chamberlain of Yonkers, New York, Nancy Chamberlain McCabe of Lakewood Ranch, Martha Chamberlain Cowles (Ken) of Tampa, Eric W. Chamberlain (Anne) of Mill Creek, Washington; nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She leaves them a legacy of love, strength, perseverance and courage in the face of every challenge.
Visitation will be at 5-7 p.m. March 8 at Shannon Funeral Homes West View Chapel, 5610 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, March 9 at Faith United Church of Christ, 4850 S.R. 64 E., Bradenton.
She will be laid to rest with her husband at Florida National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, it was her wish that donations be made in her memory to Manatee Children’s Services or Faith United Church of Christ.