Beth Chapman dies at age 51: A life that surmounted heartache to find true love in family
Chapman, who died in Honolulu on June 26 after years of battling cancer has been called 'a good lady and a great American'
Fans of 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' are still reeling from the heartbreak of losing the beloved Beth Chapman, while the family continues to mourn her loss. The reality star, president of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States, and the wife to Duane "Dog" Chapman died on June 26 at the age of 51. She made her way into the collective heart of the public when she co-starred with her husband Duane on 'Dog the Bounty Hunter'.
Chapman, who had been battling cancer for a long time, was born Alice Elizabeth Smith in Denver, Colorado, but had been living in Honolulu since 1989. Despite their long and loving marriage and relationship, her "meet cute" moment with husband Duane is one you will not find in any Mills and Boons books. According to an interview she gave Rosie O'Donnell on 'The Rosie Show', she met her future husband after he posted her bond for a shoplifting arrest. "He came walking out there, I said: 'Oh yes he will be mine'," Chapman recollected.
That was the beginning of a life-long romance, which culminated in a sunset wedding in Honolulu, a bittersweet event which was immortalized by 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' show. The wedding was bittersweet because Duane's daughter, 23-year-old Barbara Katy Chapman, was killed in a car accident near her home in Fairbanks, Alaska, on the day before the wedding. As a homage to her wonderful life, and to celebrate her, the couple decided to get married.
And, despite the difficult start, their large family of 12 children, 15 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, their marriage is hard to not be envious of. During the course of their marriage, the nail art connoisseur also saw some professional highs, including getting elected as the president of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States.
She had famously opposed eliminating the cash bail system, saying it would put the public at risk. "People are not in jail because they are poor," she said in 2017. "They're in jail because they broke the law."
She was the youngest person ever to receive a bail license in Colorado at the age of 29 until her stepdaughter Lyssa Chapman became licensed at age 19.
Their marriage was tested again, when she was diagnosed with throat cancer in September 2017. Even though a tumor was removed a year later in November 2018, she was diagnosed again and this time with stage four lung cancer.
On June 21, Beth had difficulty breathing and passed out momentarily, according to family spokeswoman Mona Wood-Sword. She was hospitalized and put in a medically induced coma. Chapman died in the early hours of June 26 at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu.
"It's 5.32 in Hawaii, this is the time she would wake up to go hike Koko Head mountain," her husband tweeted. "Only today, she hiked the stairway to heaven. We all love you, Beth. See you on the other side." Tributes have been flowing in from celebrities and fans on the microblogging site. She has been called "a good lady and a great American" and praised for her "indomitable spirit".
Beth will be cremated according to her wishes, and according to Wood-Sword, the funeral services are expected to be held in both Honolulu and Colorado.