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Community loses ‘great soul’

Local musician, businesswoman who ‘loved fiercely’ dies

T-R FILE PHOTO — Marshalltown musician, businesswoman, activist and artist Moon Jean Chaplin has died, according to family and friends. She is shown here in April 2018 working on pieces for her artisan Luniverse shop.

Moon Jean Chaplin’s Facebook page was flooded with loving, caring posts after news of her death was shared Thursday morning.

Chaplin was well known for her local business ventures, from the Luniverse shop to Life Connections. She was known for her musical pursuits, including the groups Moon Chaplin and the Magic Men, Monkeyfinger and SING, WRITE, DIE.

“What I loved most about her was that she always wanted to help. During some of my darkest times she was there and helped me get in touch with a therapist,” Marshalltown native Ashley Hala said. “She cared so much about everyone she met. She always had something funny to say and goodness, her smile. She was so contagious.”

Activism was also among Chaplin’s interests, particularly concerning endometriosis. She was a survivor of the condition, which causes high levels of chronic pain. It impacts about 176 million people worldwide and Chaplin worked to increase awareness about it.

Chaplin was also an active community member. One of her many roles was as a member of the Marshalltown Planning and Zoning Commission.

“Moon helped raise funds for the (Marshalltown) Skate Park, donated her musical talents for charitable causes and served for years on planning and zoning,” Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer said. “I am deeply saddened to learn of her death.”

He also sent his condolences to Chaplin’s husband, John.

Fellow businesswoman Cassandra Gerstandt of Black Tire Bike Co. remembered Chaplin fondly.

“She was a friend, and was passionate and loved fiercely. She had a major impact on everyone’s life that she ever met and our community has lost a great soul,” Gerstandt said.

Here are some excerpts from the hundreds of posts on Chaplin’s Facebook page only hours after the news of her passing:

“She touched so many lives and she moved mountains. She was so loved. Today is a tough, tough day.”

“I am speechless. My head hurts. I love you.”

“The endo community has lost yet another sister. Please keep her family in your prayers. This is a shock.”

“Can a town have one person that always reminded everyone of how wonderful it was to live here? We did and we were blessed.”

“You were the most compassionate, genuine and unforgettable person I know. Thank you for your mentorship, friendship and helping me become a better person. You are already so missed Moon Jean Chaplin.”

To share a message, visit Chaplin’s Facebook page.

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Contact Adam Sodders at

641-753-6611 or

asodders@timesrepublican.com