No Regrets A San Antonio attorney seeks a lifetime of thrill. WHAT SEPARATES THE ADVENTUROUS FROM THOSE WHO SELDOM VENTURE FAR FROM THEIR COMFORT ZONE? For Dan Chapman, a partner in the San Antonio office of Jackson Walker, it’s both the fear of regret and some innate curiosity. “I didn’t want to get old and say, ‘Gee, well I’m disappointed I didn’t try that.’ ” Chapman has lived his life at full throttle. Throughout his 67 years, he has been a racer, semi-pro football player, hang glider, sky diver, and boxer. With a mother who enjoyed sky diving and riding motorcycles, and a physician father who raced cars, Chapman didn’t always know that few lives were as exciting. “I thought this was normal until I was about 35!” he said. Growing up in Long Island, New York, Chapman scuba dived, surfed, and raced go-karts. At the age of 15, he took his first sky diving jump, which his mother bought for him as a birthday present, and he continued sky-diving and serving as an instructor into college. “I still have my certification,” Chapman said, “so if you have a parachute and you’d like to get it packed, I would be happy to do that.” After graduating college, Chapman played semi-pro football and competed in boxing matches, including the New York City Golden Gloves tournament as a junior welterweight (and then losing a few years afterward with a broken nose to the U.S. Golden Gloves champion). Later while working as a high school physics teacher, he flew hang gliders competitively until crushing both ankles and one leg in a hard landing. In the 80s, Chapman moved to Texas to attend Baylor Law School and soon after being admitted to the Texas Bar started racing motorcycles, curling his upper body tight against the top surface of the fuel tank so that he could get up to 170 mph. “You really got a sense of speed,” he said. “When I get to work, I work hard. And when I get home, I try to play hard.” But motorcycle racing was tough after having broken a few bones, so he transitioned to vintage car racing, which he describes as a “sport that you can do when you get older.” With his 1961 Cooper T-56 open-wheel single-seater, he joins hundreds of other amateurs several times a year to run tracks around Texas and elsewhere in the United States at speeds up to 135 mph. In October 2013, he finished second at the U.S. Vintage Racing Nationals, held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin. “The minute you’re on the track, the stress goes away because it’s all business,” he said. “You’re concentrating and focusing so hard that you’re not thinking about the danger. You drive very fast, and the cars around you are going fast, and you’re trying to do the best you can on the edge of control, without losing it. When you’re done with the race, it’s similar to being done with any strenuous and intense athletic competition—there’s a lot of relief.” Being a patent attorney, Chapman says that the technical aspects of racing appeal to him. “It’s a precision sport, in the sense that you have to put your car within inches of the curb or other cars at high speeds to get the most out of it.” And, he added, racing is in the moment. “You’re not thinking about what you did yesterday or what you’re going to do tomorrow.” Although he seems to prefer life in the fast lane, Chapman is capable of relaxing. He and his wife, Brenda (a retired judge), own a ranch on the edge of the Hill Country that features a 1900s-era German homestead, including a home that was built around the turn of the last century, a stone smokehouse, and several old barns. They get out of the city most weekends to entertain friends and go hunting. “It’s really interesting because when you go down that dirt road—it’s like driving back in time,” Chapman said. “It’s peaceful out there. It’s a different way of unwinding than at the racetrack.” LINDSAY STAFFORD MADER Shelf Life A love for reading leads to a small-town business venture SEVEN YEARS AGO, ELIZABETH “BETTY” DERIEUX AND HER HUSBAND, PETE ADAMS, BOUGHT 3,000 USED BOOKS and a historic building in Gladewater, intent on opening a bookstore in the small East Texas town. The couple has since amassed more than 40,000 titles—from antique rarities to current bestsellers—and grown Gladewater Books into a haunt for bibliophiles. “It’s like owning the candy store,” said DeRieux, a partner in the firm of Capshaw DeRieux, which is located just across the street from Gladewater Books. Adams, a former attorney who retired from the world of law in 2008, manages the shop during the week and DeRieux joins him on the weekends. The duo has always been passionate about reading, so owning and running the store is a natural fit. When vacationing, instead of seeking out special dining options or museums, they choose to explore local used bookstores, and their enthusiasm is evidenced by a personal collection with hundreds of titles. “I will say, I think we’re losing the fight,” DeRieux said. “Our library is always right on the verge of taking over our home.” DeRieux and Adams opened their bookstore during a changing economy and have seen numerous independent shops fall victim to larger chain retailers. Still, Gladewater Books has managed to stay afloat, operating on tight margins and avoiding both tough purchase negotiations with corporate distributors and high property rental costs. DeRieux and Adams add to their inventory through estate sales, auctions, and closing stores. Often, that means buying in bulk without knowing the extent of the contents. “Every time we get new boxes in, we open them and go through them just like somebody gave us a present,” DeRieux said. As a self-proclaimed reading omnivore, DeRieux understands that a good bookstore carries a wide range of offerings. She says they currently have a particularly large collection of fiction, science fiction, religion, biography, and history, although availability continually changes. “As a bookseller, you are forced to become familiar with things that you would never have spent time with in a bookstore as a customer,” DeRieux said. “Almost every week, we find out about a new author or publisher.” The variety and rotating stock keep shoppers happy. Gladewater Books maintains a loyal customer base, including patrons from Dallas and Shreveport and several nearby towns such as Kilgore, Longview, and Tyler. For those who can’t make the trip, the store also sells titles online. But the brick-and-mortar location offers something a digital version can’t match: century-old wood floors and tin ceilings—and the distinct and nostalgic scent of used books that brings a smile to many visitors’ faces. HANNAH KIDDOO For a list of DeRieux’s favorite books, go to texasbar.com/derieux. TEXAS PEOPLE Kathleen Campbell Walker Cox Smith Matthews, El Paso Received the Founders Award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association. G. Roland Love Winstead, Dallas Received the James H. Garst President’s Award from the Texas Land Title Association. Julián Castro Former Mayor, San Antonio Appointed by President Barack Obama as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. E.G. “Gerry” Morris Law Office of E.G. Morris, Austin Installed as president-elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
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