Armand Legriel Chapeau, better known as Toby, was born on June 24th, 1939, to Pauline and Armand Chapeau in Savannah, Georgia and crossed the bar on July 31st, 2023. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Betty Crawford Chapeau, Athens; one daughter Michelle Chapeau, Athens and two sons Michael Chapeau (Kathryn), Athens and Charles Chapeau (Angela), Athens; seven grandchildren, Walter Chapeau (Grace), Savannah, Toby Chapeau, Athens, David Chapeau, Athens, Lauren Chapeau, Athens, Zachary Chapeau, Athens, Betsy Chapeau, Athens, and Charlie Chapeau, Athens; and a sister Carolyn Selby, Hahari.
Toby grew up in Savannah, Jacksonville Beach and the Atlanta area. He graduated High School from St. Andrews School in Sewanee, Tennessee in 1957 and entered the Coast Guard Reserve in 1958. After three years in the Atlanta Reserve Unit, he went into the regular Coast Guard in 1961 and was assigned to a ship in Miami. During his tour on that vessel, he was a participant in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and was aboard on the quarantine line established by the President. In 1963 he was transferred to Atlanta as an advisor to the CG Reserve and in 1964 met and married the love of his life Betty. After attending OCS, he and Betty began their Coast Guard adventure together. After a year in Kodiak Alaska Betty returned to Athens and Toby went to Vietnam. On August 24, 1967 he was severely wounded taking a bullet into his spine. After a very successful surgery aboard the Hospital Ship REPOSE, he was returned to Athens to recover. In 1968 he resumed his Coast Guard career with a transfer to Miami, FL then Mayport, FL, then Monterey, CA, then Mobile, AL, then San Francisco, CA, onto Cape May, NJ and finally New Orleans where he retired after his 29-year Coast Guard Career. His last assignment in New Orleans he was a Director of a multi-agency narcotics group operation under Vice President George H. W. Bush. Upon his retirement, it was noted by the New Orleans newspaper that he was the most often decorated officer in the Coast Guard. He received the following awards: Purple Heart, 2 Meritorious Service Medals, 4 Coast Guard Commendation Medals, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, 3 Commandant’s Letter of Commendation and numerous other awards and campaign ribbons. In November 2022, he was inducted into the Georgia Military Hall of Fame. In May of this year, he was the 21st inductee onto the Coast Guard Wall of Gallantry at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Immediately after retirement, Toby and family moved to Griffin, Georgia where on May 4, 1987 he was appointed as the Chief of Police for the City of Griffin. During his 15 years as Chief, he brought the Department into the modern era with new city bought weapons, portable radios for each officer, a take home car program, computerized records and court dockets, and an advanced promotion system that encouraged formal education and training for promotion. The Department was the thirteenth department in the state to achieve State Certification. For his work in developing the School Resource Officer program in Georgia and his efforts within the International Chiefs Association, he was selected as the State of Georgia Outstanding Police Chief for the year for 2000. During his time in Griffin, he was recognized by the Georgia Secretary of State as an Outstanding Georgia Citizen. He was involved in many civic functions such as the Salvation Army Executive Board, United Way Board, the Daybreak Rotary Club and fund raising for Special Olympics.
Upon retiring from the Griffin Police Department Toby moved to Athens, Georgia to be with Betty who had retired earlier to be near his children and grandchildren. He was a member of the Athens First United Methodist Church. He was active in the Athens Rotary Club being Chair of the Public Safety Committee for a number of years and being a multiple Paul Harris Fellow. He was a member of the Athens Area Military Officers Association and an Executive Board member of that organization. He was appointed twice by the Grand Jury to be a member of the Tax Equalization board and once to be a member of the Charter Review Commission. He served for many years as a member of the Athens Police Academy Advisory Board.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, August 3, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at the Athens First United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:
Athens First United Methodist Church Music Ministry – 327 N Lumpkin St. Athens, Georgia 30601