Thirty-one years after she started her career with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service, and after 18 years of high-energy leadership with the Texas Cooperative Extension in Bexar County, Margie Gonzalez Chapman has retired.

Chapman, originally from the South Texas town of Alice, retired Oct. 31 from her position of county Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in San Antonio.

"It's time to let go," she said about her retirement. "I've had great years in Extension, and the work is never going to end, but I'm ready to retire."

Chapman has seen some changes during her years in Extension. "The work used to be one-on-one," she noted, "but now high technology is enabling us to do more group work. But the needs of the people are the same."

Bexar County Extension Director Kaye Woodward commended Chapman for her untiring efforts on behalf of families.

"Margie has been a longtime advocate of families and children," she said. "She has provided timely information to help families of all economic levels improve their quality of life and has made a difference in the lives of families of Bexar County every day during her 18 years here. She is recognized statewide for her tireless dedication and program innovations in family and consumer sciences, and she will be missed in Texas Cooperative Extension."

Chapman's accomplishments in Bexar County are numerous, but one that particularly shines is her contribution in organizing the first Family Alliance Council (FAC) in Texas, which teaches family skills to 15,000 families a year. The volunteer organization was formed in 1994 with 23 cooperating agencies. Nearly 100 Family Alliance Master volunteers carry out the group's activities, which include conferences and smaller classes.

FAC President Deborah Vaszquez characterizes Chapman as "a warm, giving personality who embraces people and gets everyone working together to help families. She has been the force behind the Council and will be missed, but we decided that her legacy will be for us to continue her work after she leaves."

The FAC received the Governor's Volunteer Award in 2000. Chapman also received Extension's Superior Service Award this year and the Mary W. Wells Diversity Award from the state and national Extension associations for family and consumer sciences in 1997.

Chapman left Texas after high school to study at the University of Arizona, where she earned bachelor's and master's degrees in home economics education. Her first job, hired a week after she graduated with her first degree, was with Arizona Extension, working with the Papago Indian reservation in Pima County. She earned her master's degree while employed there.

Chapman is married and has one son. She will live in Arizona after retirement.

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