He was 89.
Born in Toledo on Feb. 24, 1923, to Mary and Sylvan Chappuis, Mr. Chappuis lettered in four sports at DeVilbiss High School before paying his own way to attend Michigan, where he starred as a halfback and played quarterback. Mr. Chappuis led the 1947 Wolverines to an unbeaten season, was named an All-American back, and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting to Johnny Lujack of Notre Dame.
A dynamic athlete, he helped revolutionize football as one of the sport's first elite passers. The Blade described Mr. Chappuis as a "dead-eye aerealist" while Time magazine dubbed him "The Specialist" in a cover story. Michigan coach Fritz Crisler called him the "finest passer I have ever handled."
Mr. Chappuis closed the 1947 season with 217 passing yards in a 21-0 victory over Ohio State and set the Rose Bowl record for completions in the Wolverines' title-clinching 49-0 rout of Southern California. He continues to hold the Big Ten Conference's single-season passer rating mark (175.3) and the Michigan single-season record for yards per completion (18.8).
Exceedingly modest, however, Mr. Chappuis spoke with more pride on his service to the country. After playing the 1942 season at Michigan, he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces and served 21 missions as an aerial gunner and radio operator on B-25 bombers.
Fe played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Hornets of the All-America Football Conference in 1948 and 1949. He retired in 1950 when the league folded.
Mr. Chappuis spent most of his adult life in Indiana as a labor relations director, but returned to Ann Arbor about a decade ago, in part so he could spend fall Saturdays at Michigan Stadium. The memories never faded.
"I remember when I was in high school and I stepped foot in the stadium for the first time, and it was just awesome," he told The Blade in 2010. "I've never forgotten it."
Mr. Chappuis is survived by his wife, Ann, and children, Rob, Mark, Mary McCord, and Betsy Wilson.
"He had lots of accomplishments in the football world that goes back to his roots in Toledo, but to me, he was just a great father a great family man and that was what was most important to him," Rob Chappuis said. "He was very, very humble about the other stuff that a lot of people remember him by."
Funeral services are pending.
Contact David Briggs at email@example.com, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.