Carlos Chappelle, J.D.
Carlos Chappelle, J.D. Story
50th Anniversary Notable Alumni Feature Carlos Chappelle, J.D.: Awarded Posthumously – Born and raised in Tulsa, Carlos graduated from Central High School. He attended Tulsa Junior College, now Tulsa Community College, and received a degree in Health Care in 1974. He would go on to earn his undergraduate degree. After serving as a Nursing Home Director and Real Estate Broker, Carlos’ interest in politics and strong desire to better serve our community led him to earn his law degree in 1980. He was in private practice for 14 years and served as a part-time instructor at the TCC Northeast Campus until being appointed to serve as a Special Judge for Tulsa County, where he served on nearly every docket, including juvenile, criminal, mental health, domestic and civil.
Carlos was the first black presiding judge in Tulsa County after being elected to that position in January 2014. He retired roughly 18 months later at the age of 63 so he could devote his time and energy to fighting cancer. Four weeks after stepping down, he passed away in June 2015.
He followed a family legacy of legal professionals that spread from one of the first black attorneys in Oklahoma, his grandfather Peter Addison Chappelle, to his nephew, former U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams of the Northern District of Oklahoma. In July 2016, Carlos’ framed portrait and a plaque chronicling his legacy were hung in a courtroom now named after him on the sixth floor of the Tulsa County Courthouse.
Carlos was a strong supporter of the T. Oscar Chappelle, Sr. Scholarship Program which has assisted many young Morning Star Baptist Church members with their educational pursuits. He was also a lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He received numerous awards and honors, including being recognized as a Best of TCC Distinguished Alumni in 2013. He also served on countless boards and commissions and advocated for all citizens through his various professional memberships.