Charles O’Hara Chandler
Charles O’Hara Chandler was born February 12, 1908 in Diboll, Texas and passed from this life at the age of 103 on June 27, to his heavenly home. The family will receive friends from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday evening at Gipson Funeral Home.
He graduated from Diboll High School in 1927 and attended Baylor University for one year on academic scholarship. An illness in his family caused him to return to work in the sawmill at Diboll, with high hopes of returning to Baylor. Dave Kenley, Land Manager of Southern Pine Lumber Company in Diboll at the time, and a school board member in Corrigan, suggested that he teach for a few semesters and save money to return to college. Mr. Chandler found his calling and continue in the school business for the next 50 years. He earned his college degrees by going to school in the summers, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree from Sam Houston State University and a Master’s from the University of Houston. In 1974, he was awarded the prestigious Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree for his service to public education from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
He began his teaching career in the small schools of Corrigan, Moscow, and Chester, Texas, where he taught every class, was coach of the athletic teams, and was school administrator as well. He later became Superintendent of Schools in Orange. Because of the influx of shipyard workers and military families during WWII, Orange grew from a population of 8,000 to 60,000, which over-populated the schools and left a deficit. Mr. Chandler was effective in getting passed the first federal aid to public education in America to assist the Orange School District in providing facilities and teachers for the increased population. After leaving Orange, he completed his career as superintendent in Victoria, serving there for 20 years before retirement. Chandler Elementary School was named to honor him and his accomplishments in Victoria.
During his years in the school business, he was President of the Texas State Teachers Association and the Texas Association of School administrators. He participated on Eisenhower’s White House cabinet for education for public schools in 1956 and was several times a delegate of the United States to the World Conference of Educator. He worked as an exchange educator to study the Soviet Union during the Cold War years. He was chairman of the Texas Textbook Committee for many years. He was also founder and first chairman of the Texas Teacher Retirement System. He was a lifelong supporter of the Public School System of Texas and of Baylor University in Waco, Texas as well. He is one of the few, if not the only, Mason with an 80-year pin in the State of Texas.
Mr. Chandler was a lifelong member of the Baptist Church, a Sunday School teacher and Deacon in Orange and Victoria, and most recently a member and honorary Deacon of Lufkin’s First Baptist Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Mary Ann and William Edmond Chandler; his wife, Alma Elizabeth Sellers Chandler; brothers, Ed and Jack Chandler; sisters, Amesses Massey, Jimmie Ferguson, Rhoda Faye Chandler and Jean Epperson; and his grandson, Reich O’Hara Chandler.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, George and Martha Chandler; his granddaughter, Kelly Chandler Michaels, her husband Jimmy and their children, Chandler and Charlie Michaels; and his great-granddaughter, Sydney Chandler and her mother, Nancy Chandler West.
The family wishes to offer heartfelt thanks to Prinzola Ward, his friend and caretaker, and to the many caring friends and supporters at Pinecrest Retirement Community as well as to the wonderful staff at Hospice in the Pines.
Expressions of sympathy in Mr. Chandler’s memory may be made to the Reich O’Hara Chandler Scholarship Fund at Baylor Law School, One Bear Place, #97026, Waco, Texas 76798 (Attn: Julie Corley); to Lufkin’s First Baptist Church, 106 E. Bremond, Lufkin, Texas 75901; Hospice in the Pines, 1504 W. Frank Avenue, Lufkin, Texas 75904; or to the charity of your choice.
Services for Mr. Chandler will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, June 30, 2011 at Lufkin’s First Baptist Church, with Dr. Andrew G. Pittman and the Rev. Blant Ferguson officiating. Interment will follow in the Garden of Memories Memorial Park.
Condolences may be offered at www.gipsonfuneralhome.com
Services have been placed in the trust of Gipson Funeral Home