In just a few days, Pawhuska High School alumni will converge for a star-studded reunion, the like of which has never been seen before. Joining the growing list of entertainers is a talented woman who shared part of her youth in Pawhuska. Katsy Chappell is an accomplished actress, comic and quirky crafter.
Chappell attended elementary and junior high in Pawhuska. Some of her classmates included Charmaine Kendrick, Cheri Pflieder, Greg Spencer, Sarah McKee, Elizabeth Hembree and Jody Martin. Chappell’s family left Pawhuska just before her freshman year of high school. She graduated in 1977 from Tulsa Washington.
Growing up in a family full of laughter, Chappell noticed at an early age that making people laugh was fun. She tried her hand at acting in high school but it wasn’t until she moved to the West Coast that she combined her love of comedy and acting.
“I remember arriving in Los Angeles after a two-day drive in an old Malibu bucket with a driver’s door that was frozen shut,” a smiling Chappell said. “I had to enter and exit on the passenger side during the entire cross-country journey. I drove into Hollywood late afternoon of May 16, 1980, on the forever-congested 101 Freeway.”
Since launching her acting career, Chappell has amassed acting credits which include 2008 Yes Man, 1999 Inspector Gadget and 1994 True Lies. She has appeared in numerous films, TV, commercials and radio. Most recently, Chappell appeared in the horror film The Veil, starring Jessica Alba and directed by Phil Joanou. Chappell said, “I had just finished my audition for the final callback when Mr. Joanou jumped up, ran over to me and gave me a big thank you hug! As far as I know, he was the first director to do this. Later, I learned I not only wowed the room but landed the role!” The Veil can be seen on Netflix.
Chappell also appeared in ER, Strong Medicine, A Match Made in Heaven (starring John Stamos and Olympia Dukakis), Indictment: The McMartin Trial (starring James Woods), In Living Color, Heartbeat (starring Polly Draper and the late John Ritter), An Inconvenient Woman (starring Jason Robards), Roseanne, Freddy’s Nightmares, Hardball, Dallas and Knots Landing where she worked with fellow Oklahoman Ted Shackleford, among others.
In addition to numerous awards, Chappell was voted Entertainer of the Year by the Bob Hope USO Shows. She said, “I’m also very proud of the overseas military tours to the Middle East and Africa and being able to perform for our soldiers.”
Living in Southern California, Chappell spends her spare time quilting and stirring up batches of handcrafted moisturizing soap.
“I made my first batch of soap in 1999 when I bought my first home computer, an E-machine,” continued Chappell. “Using the internet search bar, I chanced upon soap making forums that peaked my interest. Since YouTube hadn’t been invented, I learned to make soap by reading books from the local library. I’m forever grateful to authors Sandy Maine of Sunfeather Soaps and her book, The Soap Book, Melinda Coss’s The Handmade Soap Book, and Susan Miller Cavitch’s The Soapmaker’s Companion.
“My favorite soap to make is 100 percent Meyer Lemon Juice soap simply because in the soaping world, there are those who say it can’t be done. YES IT CAN and I have successfully soaped lemon juice (chuckling) several times now. One of my lemon soap bars has been showcased in a soap and cosmetics magazine. I enjoy soaping odd ingredients like cucumbers, beer, wine, eggs, avocados, yogurt, milks, honey, and cocoa butter. In a way, I guess, I’m a foodie soaper!”
Not only has Chappell mastered soap challenges, she is a widely-sought after speaker/entertainer in the quilting world. Katsy muses, “I caught the quilting bug from watching Eleanor Burns on PBS and Alex Anderson on her show Simply Quilts. This exposure eventually led me to my first quilting adventure, a ‘Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam’ themed piece.
“I enjoy taking sheets of fabric, cutting them down to small pieces, rearranging them with other textile bits and sewing the lot into a new large colorful piece of fabric as a quilt top.
“Two other TV quilters (Sewing with Nancy and Kaye Woods) peaked my interest in checking out local quilt guilds. During my first visit to the Glendale Quilt Guild in the 1990s, I was welcomed by a very friendly lady named Alice. During our conversation, this retired school teacher inquired about how good my handwriting was. This led to me serving a two-year stint as recording secretary for the Guild’s executive board. I also served two years as the Guild’s co-program chair and a year as hospitality chair.
“I am currently involved with two guilds – The LA Modern Quilt Guild and The Glendale Quilt Guild. I am listed on SCCQG (Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds) as a Lecturer and Teacher.”
Chappell’s favorite quilt is titled “LOL” and has been exhibited at the prestigious Road2CA Quilters Festival and The Port of LA Craft Festival. She uses “LOL” as part of her corporate comedy and trunk shows. Chappell compliments local Tangled Threads shop owner, Wanda Jones, for completing the beautiful top stitching.
An experienced world traveler, Chappell noted some of her favorite treks have included feeding deer cookies to “overly-friendly” deer in Nara, Japan; riding camels in the Sahara desert; visiting the Cheetah Preserve in Djibouti, Africa; hiking and camping in below-freezing temperatures atop Salcantay Pass (4,638 meters above sea level); zip lining across the sacred valley of the Incas and climbing Machu Picchu in Peru.
Chappell likes to post photos and short videos of her adventures on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram under her pen name “Qrafty Qomic.” She may also be followed on her blog: www.mylifewithpieces.com
Although she did not graduate from PHS, Chappell is delighted to support her former classmates for what promises to be a reunion to be remembered. For more information about the PHS All-School reunion, call 918-287-2575, 918-855-7376 or firstname.lastname@example.org.