Barbara Kirkland Chiles
December 7, 1921 – January 17, 2020
Barbara Kirkland Chiles passed away at home on Friday, the 17th of January 2020, surrounded by her loving family. She was a proud native Houstonian and descendent of the Kirkland, Cleveland, Shepherd, and Root families who trace their heritage to the beginning of Houston in the 1830’s. Barbara was born on the 7th of December 1921 to Lois Cleveland and William Alexander Kirkland and attended Lanier Middle School and The Kinkaid School, graduating from Saint Catherine’s School in Richmond, Virginia. She attended Rice University and Katherine Gibbs College in Boston, Massachusetts.
At the beginning of World War II, her father re-enlisted as an officer in the US Navy and moved the family to New Orleans, Louisiana, where Barbara met the love of her life, Navy Lieutenant Marion Clay Chiles. They were married at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston on the 21st of February 1944. After returning from the Pacific at the end of the war, they moved to Alice, Texas, during the South Texas oil boom and founded Chiles Drilling Company, an oil and gas drilling and exploration company. They started their family with daughter, Lois Cleveland Chiles and sons, William Edmonds Chiles, and Clay Kirkland Chiles. Barbara was an active member of the Episcopal Church of the Advent and involved in many civic organizations in South Texas. She became an avid bridge player, golfer, and hunter. After 23 years in Alice, the family moved back to Houston where they founded two offshore oil and gas drilling companies, Western Oceanic and Chiles Offshore Inc.
Barbara was a great cook, devoted wife and mother, and friend to all. She never met a stranger in her life and would strike up conversations with anyone, to the embarrassment of her children. She was dearly loved by many people. In 1979, they lost their youngest son, Clay, to Hodgkin’s disease. During his illness they never lost hope and decamped to Galveston, Texas where Clay was briefly under treatment.
She was an active member of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church and loved her Bible study group. She was also a member of Alice Country Club, Cotillion Club, Houston Country Club, River Oaks Garden Club, and The Assembly, and served on the board of the DePelchin Children Center. Until the last few days of her life, she enjoyed playing bridge two to three times per week and constantly worked on solving difficult crossword puzzles. Most of all, she loved visits from her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren at her home, which was “family central”.
Barbara was preceded in death by her parents, Lois Cleveland Kirkland and William Alexander Kirkland; her husband, Marion Clay Chiles; her son, Clay Kirkland Chiles; and her sister, Virginia Kirkland Innis. She is survived by her daughter, Lois Cleveland Chiles and her husband Richard Gilder of New York City; her son, William Edmonds Chiles and his wife Marion Barfield Chiles of Houston. She is also survived by her five grandchildren, Ashley Kirkland Chiles of Austin, Brett Moffatt Chiles and his wife Laura Canion Chiles of Houston, Clay Benton Chiles of Brooklyn, New York, Brayden Chiles Keenan and her husband, Edward P. Keenan of Houston, and Chloe Alexandra Fisher of Washington, D.C.; and three great-grandchildren, William Turner Chiles, Margaret Jane Chiles, and Joseph Parker Chiles. Also, her lifelong best friend, Ann Eutsler, who was always by her side.
The family would like to thank her devoted caregivers, Yolanda Chavez and Betty McCoy, who, with their loving care, sustained her in her later years.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o’clock in the afternoon until seven o’clock in the evening, on Wednesday, the 22nd of January, in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
Following a private interment at Glenwood Cemetery, a memorial service is to be conducted at three o’clock in the afternoon on Thursday, the 23rd of January, at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 717 Sage Road in Houston, where the Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr., Rector, and the Rev. Martin J. Bastian are to officiate.
Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception at a venue to be announced during the services.
In lieu of customary remembrances, and for those desiring, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions be directed to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 717 Sage Road, Houston, TX, 77056; DePelchin Children’s Home, 4950 Memorial Dr., Houston, TX, 77007; and/or Methodist Hospital, 6565 Fannin St., Houston, TX, 77030.
- Visitation with the Family Wednesday, January 22, 2020
- Memorial Service Thursday, January 23, 2020
Barbara Kirkland Chiles
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February 14, 2020
Our beloved "Baba" was simply one of a kind. There was never anyone else like her. As her best friend, Ann, said 3 weeks ago, "our lives will never be the same."
She was our hero and a living legend, the "Original Gangster Texas Huntress," a friend & inspiration to all of us. I miss her more than I could have ever imagined, We love you Baba.
Paula Crain Clark
January 24, 2020
Barbara was one of the most wonderful women I was blessed to know most of my life. Lois and I both shared my Aunt Dawn as godmothers. My Mother Rose Cyrene shared rooms with your Mom after they lost our Dads and dearly loved her too.
The last time I got to visit with her was at Dawn and Roger’s
and she showed me pictures of you Lois and your new surroundings. They were beautiful and she was so thrilled you
Had found such happiness. I so wish we could have been at the
Service but we were having cardiologist appointments that we tried to change to no avail. Please know our hearts and prayers
were with all of you. We loved her dearly.
January 22, 2020
Bill I'm so sorry to hear about your mom she was a great lady and was very nice to me when ever I came to fix her plumbing I loved her so much and will miss her kindness again sorry for your loss my prayers 🙏 to u and the family.
January 22, 2020
Bill, I am so very sorry for the loss of your mother. She was a wonderful lady and I will never forget her kindness to me. I know she will greatly be missed but I'm sure she is rejoicing in Heaven to be back with your dad and the Lord! Love and miss you all, Boss. Margaret
January 22, 2020
Lois, this is Ted Wu from your high school days in San Antonio. My wife Linda and I want to express our condolences to you and your family for the loss of your mother. She was a fine woman and will be missed. As members of St. Martin's and a TMI alumni, I have run across your brother Bill at times but never made the connection. May your mother rest in peace. Best regards, Linda and Ted Wu
January 19, 2020
Sorry for your loss . I never knew her but I worked for Western Oceanic from 1980 until 1991 . It was a great place to work made some of the memories of my life.
January 18, 2020
I will truly miss you, my friend. Rest In Peace for eternity.
January 18, 2020
GOT TO MEET BARBARA WHEN SHE NEEDED CAR REPAIRS. VERY NICE LADY,WHO SOUGHT ME OUT AFTER I SANG AT HER BIBLE STUDY CLASS TO TELL ME HOW MUCH SHE ENJOYED THE SONG. MY PRAYERS OF CONDOLENCE FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY. HER SOUL IS NOW AT REST.
IN THE CARE OF