The unexpected death of a 34-year-old Pasco man from chronic pancreatitis earlier this month has left his family struggling to pay for his burial.
David Chapman, whom everyone called "Dae Dae," was a construction worker and the sole provider for his household. He left behind a fiancee, six children and a large extended family.
The family still needs around $8,000 in order to bury Chapman at Columbia Memorial Gardens in Pasco with his uncle, family members said. A funeral is scheduled for Saturday, and they hope they can raise the money by then.
"Dae Dae's wish was to be buried with his family," said Gwendolyn Chapman, his mother. "It's very important to us he gets there because that's where we all have plots."
Many Mid-Columbia businesses have stepped up to ease the burden, donating items for three fundraisers.
A raffle was held Thursday night at the Grizzly bar in Pasco. Another raffle is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at Players Sports Bar & Grill on West Kennewick Avenue. The last raffle will be held Dec. 27 at the Parkade Bar & Grill in Kennewick.
"More than 30 businesses have donated lots of things from guitars and stereos to tattoo (sessions)," Jessica Chapman said.
Chapman, who attended Pasco High School, had been in and out of the hospital since 2009 for issues related to his pancreatitis, said Amanda Nelson, his fiancee.
He started having stomach problems Dec. 3 and went to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Nelson said. Within a day of checking into the hospital, he couldn't breathe on his own.
Doctors put Chapman in a medically induced comma as his organs began to shut down, Nelson said. He died Dec. 11, eight days after his stomach pains began.
"He was the backbone of the family," Nelson said. "I haven't even been able to talk about him until now. His daughter keeps asking when daddy is going to come home from heaven. It's really hard."
Chapman's death affected many people throughout the Tri-Cities because he had a big heart and was known as someone who loved life, Gwendolyn Chapman said. He would take time to listen to problems and make sure everyone in his family was always taken care of.
"I don't care who you were, if Dae Dae saw you and you were down, he would get you back up," his mother said. "He was pretty big-hearted that way."
The shock of his death became even more sudden when Nelson realized her fiancee hadn't set any money aside for his funeral, she said.
The couple, who had been dating since 2007, had a 3-year-old daughter together, Nelson said. Chapman had three children, including a 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, from a previous relationship. He was also a father to Nelson's two children.
"The kids are doing good right now," she said. "We have all been raised to be strong. Not only to be strong for ourselves, but be strong for someone else who might need it."
Parishioners at Kennewick Baptist Church donated their time to reduce the cost of the funeral to $10,000 from the original $15,000, said Jessica Chapman, David Chapman's sister-in-law.
Family members are optimistic that they will raise the rest of the money, they said.
"Dae Dae would have done this for one of us," Nelson said. "We are going to get that man buried."
w Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Ty_richardson