OBITUARY

Virgil Wallace CHATHAM Jr.

October 29, 1944April 3, 2018

Virgil W. Chatham, Jr. was born on the 29th of October 1944, and raised by his mother Mozelle and stepfather Charlie Damek in the South Park neighborhood of Houston. “Butch” graduated from Jesse Jones Senior High School with the class of 1963, and attended the University of St. Thomas on a baseball scholarship while majoring in Economics and practical jokes. Tall tales of palm trees set afire in Montrose, and exploding Babo bombs on Lower Westheimer were often recounted, as well as a story about pigeons that cannot not be repeated. It should be noted that Virgil occasionally got as good as he gave from his two daughters.

Virgil met Janice (his wife of 49 years) at UST after a stint in the Marine Reserves. For their first date, he bought tickets to see Jeff Beck in concert, and continued dragging Janice to rock concerts over the next 49 years (Robin Trower being a particular favorite). They recently attended the Moody Blues concert in January when the band rolled through town, and Virgil pronounced the band to be in fine form. After graduating from St. Thomas, Virgil went to work for Xerox in their sales management program before joining Stewart & Stevenson, where he worked over the next 25 years in their gas turbine engine division, as well as with power generator and compressor sales, and commercial airline ground support. These clients provided him the opportunity to travel to several countries (Haiti, Malaysia, Russia to name a few), and produced many an interesting story. Away from the office, Virgil stayed active in sports (baseball and soccer in particular), whether as a player, coach or simply a spectator at the ballpark. Unsuspecting family members were often dragged out to Minute Maid Park hours before the opening pitch, in order to watch batting practice and player warm ups.

As a youth, Virgil enjoyed hearing Paul Berlin’s incredible stories on the radio while getting his haircut at the Blodgett Street Barber Shop by the fabulous Skeeter Skinner. He had an appreciation for classic cars and hot rods, and liked heading up to Spring to catch the Niftee 50ees Classic Cruisers car show on a Saturday evening with Janice. Virgil had a soft spot for stray animals, as well as a tasty burger. He liked hard-edged movies by Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino, but was a big softy while binge-watching Hallmark Christmas movies every year. The yearly ritual of setting up multiple Christmas displays around the house started to occur earlier every year, and if left up to Virgil, the house would have remained decorated all year long.

The last ten years had seen Virgil actively involved in the various Senior Softball leagues around town. He was always willing to offer teammates helpful batting instructions and words of encouragement, while never staying satisfied with his own performance. Throughout his retirement years, Virgil always acted like an individual half his age, both in body and spirit. He is survived in death by his devoted wife Janice and their two daughters Amy (and Doug) Lawson and Sarah Chatham (Jake Unruh). Virgil never enjoyed attending funerals, and he thought it appropriate that his family and friends not have to do the same; therefore, there will be no services, but please share with us your memory of Virgil in the entries below.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the American Heart Association in memory of Virgil.

Services

No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
REMEMBERING

Virgil Wallace CHATHAM Jr.

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Al Avenoso

April 27, 2018

I only knew Virgil for one semester at UST. We played together on the baseball team. Matter of fact, I had been the shortstop for about 2.5 seasons, and the much quicker Virgil beat me out in my senior year. I remember Virgil as a gentleman and a real nice guy, and I had a good baseball season that year in spite of losing my old position to him. R.I.P.

John Goode

April 16, 2018

I had the pleasure of growing up with Virgil. Attended school, withhim, from kindergarten through 12th grade. Strangely, we both attended the same university. I really admired his base ball abilities. Not being a good ball player, I frequented many of his night Little League games. I looked forward to meeting with him at our class reunions and his friendship will be greatly missed. My prayers to his family.

Amanda Colunga

April 14, 2018

Janice,

I and my family, are deeply saddened by the news about Virgil. I am so very sorry. This must be a very difficult time for you. Please remember that you and your girls are always in my thoughts and my prayers.
Everytime I walk out my front door since my parents been here in the Houston Heights on 16th Street since 1973. I've been here for 34 years now. I am Alice & Gabriel's daughter. I have never in my life met the most kindest, warm hearted, most thoughtful neighbors. We just knew deep down in our heart we could always go to if ever needed. Virgil being such good friends to my grandpa who passed in 96, they'd always be talking, as a little girl growing up around them, I got to hear such interesting stories from the both of them. After my grandpa's passing. Virgil and my dad Gabriel, if needed a helping hand or maybe a tool needed, both were always there and knew could count on such good people.
Virgil was such a kind soul, who will be greatly missed by all who knew him. I will miss his helpful advice. I remember the time when I was little girl trick or treating and he'd invite me and Jerry inside the front room. Virgil looked over to me and couldn't stop laughing at me as I took Jerry's candy from his bag, and only he saw, at that time I was only like 7. But hearing his laughter, made me realize, when I looked around, I couldn't help but laugh myself.
I'll never forget that time. Every time I walk out my front door, I think of Virgil. Now I think about how much I will miss him seeing him always in the yard, such a blessing to have known your family and grateful to be your neighbors for all these years.
My condolences always, To neighbors that have such a special place inside my heart always. 💓
Virgil, I know you and my grandpa James are kicking back having one yalls long interesting talks. Until we meet again.

Cynthia Corn Parker

April 13, 2018

Virgil was always so upbeat, he had such an easy smile and the energy to match! When I first met him, I said to myself, "he is one of a kind!" Later, his daughter and my former neighbor Amy, gave me a little background on Virgil which proved my theory that Virgil was truly "one of a kind!" Thank goodness that he married Janice and was surrounded by three strong women! Janice, Amy and Sarah, I am still shocked and saddened at Virgills passing and I will keep all of you in my heart. We all have been blessed to have had Virgil in our lives.

Scott Templeton

April 9, 2018

Virgil and I played baseball together for many years. We were teammates in Little League, High School and American Legion. However, we played against each other in college, I played for U of H and, of course, Virgil for St. Thomas. We never stayed in touch during our adult years primarily due to my being out of Texas for 40 plus years. However, Virgil and I would get together during our High School Reunions and talk of the "old days" when we, once upon a time, we could bend down and catch a ground ball. If God has a baseball team in Heaven, I know Virgil is in the starting line-up.

Becky Cash Hevia

April 9, 2018

I send a hug of comfort to Janice, Sarah, Amy and Doug.
Being your next door neighbor for all of your years in the Heights (Amy and Doug), I'm glad to have known Virgil. It didn't take long to realize he was a sweetheart of a person. He was aware of detail, and so, cared for and maintained things well--especially the grass! I remember in the beginning, chatting on your sidewalk with Janice and Virgil, and realizing I didn't see any bikes or car. 'Did you all walk here?! And now you're going to walk back?!' 'Yep. Good for us.' That was significant. I was impressed with both of them. I'm so glad he got to have an active life all the way to its end. Cheers, Virgil!

Jo'Kelley Parrish

April 9, 2018

Prayers for Janice, our wonderful teacher, for her loss of her husband, Virgil.
They were married for 49 years. We appreciate all of their hard work and volunteer hours.
Warm wishes from all of her beading students and friends

Third Age Learning Center Advisory Board.

OSCAR (OJ) JOHNSON

April 8, 2018

THE STILL SOFTBALL TEAM SENDS CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY,
WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS THE PAIN THAT HIT ME WHEN I RECEIVED THE NEWS. I MET VIRGIL ABOUT SIX MONTHS AGO DURING THE WINTER MORNING SOFTBALL LEAGUE AT BAYLAND PARK. FROM THE BEGINNING I HAD HIGH REGARD FOR VIRGIL, NOT JUST BECAUSE OF HIS ATHLETIC ABILITY BUT BECAUSE HE WAS SUCH A NICE GUY ON AND OFF THE FIELD WITH OTHER PLAYERS.
I ASKED VIRGIL TO JOIN OUR TEAM AND AFTER A FEW WEEKS HE SAID THAT HE WOULD LIKE TO PLAY. BEING VIRGIL HE DIDN’T WANT TO ROCK THE BOAT ON AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED TEAM SO HE TOLD ME TO ADD HIM AS THE 20TH PLAYER ON OUR 20 TEAM ROSTER AND HE WOULD PLAY WHEN NEEDED. THAT WAS VIRGIL. HE ENDED UP AS OUR STARTING 3RD BASEMAN IN OUR FIRST TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR AND WAS OUR NUMBER 3 HITTER IN THE LINEUP.
WE TALKED MAYBE 3 TIMES AFTER THE TOURNAMENT AND DISCUSSED HIM RESTING HIS INJURY SO HE WOULD BE ABLE TO PLAY FULL STRENGTH IN LATE APRIL. THE NEWS CAME AS A SHOCK TO ALL OF HIS STILL TEAMMATES. VIRGIL WILL BE MISSED FOR SURE BY ALL OF US WHO HAD A CHANCE TO MEET AND PLAY SOFTBALL WITH HIM. GOD BLESS HIS FAMILY.
STILL SOFTBALL MANAGER AND COACH
OSCAR (OJ) JOHNSON

Charlie Gears

April 8, 2018

I've lost a dear & special long time friend. I met Virgil 50 years ago in business. Although 1500 miles apart, we kept in touch several times a month by telephone. We shared a similar sense of humor, a love of motor sports, hot rods, classic cars, engines and all things mechanical. I worked in Houston in 2003 & 2004 and was to able to have lunch several times when I lived there. Virgil was a special guy --- honest, trustworthy, family-oriented and willing to his fellow man, as shown by his volunteerism to a food bank as well as other venues. His humor and upbeat personality was omnipresent and always very much appreciated. My deepest condolences to Janice and his girls. 'll really miss him.

Michael Horrocks

April 8, 2018

My condolences to all of Virgil's family. Have great memories of our time together at University of St. Thomas
Great friend and classmate.