New Year; New Beginnings; New Wishes

In this New Year, here is a wish: that people individually, and our society as a whole, will move closer to sensible and smooth decision making about end-of-life care issues. Along those lines, here are a few informational links to articles that might be helpful.

Happy New Year,


**Understanding Loss and Grief, Waxahachie Daily Light

**Deficiencies in End-of-Life Care Extend Across Ethnicities, Kaiser Health News

**Videos on End-of-Life Choices Ease Tough Conversation, Texas Public Radio


Celebrating and Remembering Dad, with a Grateful Heart!

This past week has certainly been a journey of heartache and grace, and blessing and gratitude, given the death of our beloved Dad, Jim Chatelle,  He will always be remembered in our hearts, minds and stories.  May his legacy of kindness and love of music and family live on!!

Stay healthy and hold tight to your loved ones.


James Franklin Chatelle, an extremely kind and loyal man who would give anyone the shirt off his back if asked, loved growing up in the Rio Grande Valley and singing barbershop. He loved all his family and friends, and in turn was blessed and surrounded by the love of many. Jim was born on January 30, 1928 in San Benito, Texas to Napoleon Gerard and Miriam (Swann) Chatelle. He died at the age of 87 in New Braunfels.

In his beloved Rio Grande Valley where he grew up in Los Fresnos, Texas, Jimmy played football, sang, was a faithful Methodist, and even hitch-hiked across the country when travel times became tough. He was especially proud to be the younger brother and singing buddy of Gerry Chatelle of San Antonio, Texas, his only sibling, and he dearly loved his Mother and her sisters, Aunt Eunice Baskin and Aunt Frances Wray. Along with Gerry and his adored cousin, Patti Dickerson, of McAllen, Texas, singing, tap dancing, and entertaining anyone who would listen was a passion for Jimmy, both as a young boy and way into his senior years. Jim was also proud to have been a former student at Texas A&I University in Kingsville, Texas where he sang in the choir.

How blessed and fortunate Jim was to have met not one, but two, loves of his life. On April 30, 1954, he married his first wife, Irma Jeanne (Farley) Chatelle, formerly of Port Lavaca, Texas who died on November 30, 1999. Jim lovingly cared for Jeanne during her multiple battles with cancer. Together they were both especially proud of their two daughters. At the time of Jeanne’s death, they would have been married 45 years, having moved from Port Lavaca to New Braunfels for retirement purposes. Several years later, Jim was blessed beyond measure to reconnect with a past college sweetheart, Janie Smith of Bishop, Texas, who brought him a renewed spirit for living when she agreed to marry him. Jim and Janie married on August 31, 2002 in New Braunfels, Texas, and he cared greatly for Janie’s family.

From a career perspective, Jim was a loyal employee for many years for Central Power & Light (CP&L) Company, both in Corpus Christi and Port Lavaca. He ended his employment with CP&L when the stress and worry of having to turn off peoples’ electricity became too much for his caring heart. After leaving CP&L, Jim went to work for Whitco Chemicals in Point Comfort, Texas where he was a proud member of the Steelworkers’ Union along with Jeanne who served as the Union secretary. At one time in his life, Jim worked at nights and on the weekends to help the family make ends meet by serving as the popcorn maker, ticket seller, and movie projectionist at the Twin Dolphins Theatre in Port Lavaca. Jim delighted in telling the story of the night in which he got the last two reels of the film That’s Entertainment out of order, and none of the patrons seemed to notice or care, even after he loyally marched to the front of the theatre to explain the mishap and offer apologies and refunds.

As the grandson of a Methodist minister, Jim was also a proud and faithful Methodist, and served as long-time choir director for the First United Methodist Church in Port Lavaca, and a choir member in the New Braunfels First United Methodist Church where he had many loving and caring friends.

Wherever Jim lived, he tried to make that community better through service and volunteerism. Some of Jim’s community projects included work for the American Cancer Society and the Kiwanis Club/Key Club in Port Lavaca where he was proud to have been chosen as a delegate to the national convention in Toronto, Canada, a driving trip he made from Port Lavaca with Jeanne and the girls. In his younger years, Jim loved bowling; camping; playing poker with the neighbors; and enjoying a round of golf where he mostly beat everyone he played, always with a great deal of humility. He was a proud member of the ‘hole-in-one’ club.

Above almost anything, Jim loved barbershop singing. For nearly his whole adult life, he was a proud member of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America. If there was anything he could be doing in his life, he would most prefer to be singing barbershop, and if not singing it, talking and reminiscing about it. He loved being a part of the Hill Country Chorus, as well as many other barber shop choruses and quartets throughout the years. His current and former barber-shopper friends meant the world to him.

Jim is survived by his wife, Janie Chatelle of New Braunfels; his cherished daughters, Melody Chatelle and husband, Edward R. Zamora of Austin and Trudy Wortham and husband, Mike Wortham of Victoria; beloved grand-daughters, Lauren Wortham Kuecker (Brad) of Hockley and Rachel Nicole Wortham of Victoria; precious great-granddaughter, Haylee Jeanne Kuecker; brother and sister-in-law, Gerry and Jeannine Chatelle, and children Lizanne (Joe) Cucolo and Mike (Kaye) Chatelle and families; cousin Patti Dickerson and family; step-children Melissa (Mary Ann), Ross (Cindy) and Frank Smith; step-grandsons, Cody and Cameron Smith; nieces Beverly (AR) Porter and Patti Davis and their families. He was predeceased by his parents; first wife, Jeanne; and Jeanne’s parents and sister and brother-in-law, Don (Mick) and Faye Farley of Corpus Christi and Delpha and Ralf Zietz of San Antonio.

Services are being held at First United Methodist Church in New Braunfels at 2 pm on Sunday, September 27, 2015 under the direction of Lux Funeral Home. The Rev. Jason Adams will officiate. Burial will be held at a later date in Port Lavaca at the Greenlawn Cemetery. For more information, contact the Lux Funeral Home staff.

Members of the Chatelle family are very grateful for the outstanding healthcare received by Jim over the years in the New Braunfels area, and to the members of the Hill Country Chorus and First United Methodist Church in New Braunfels for their care and support along with Christus Santa Rosa Hospital and Hope Hospice in New Braunfels. Contributions to the Hill Country Chorus (; First United Methodist Church of New Braunfels (; or Hope Hospice of New Braunfels ( are suggested in lieu of flowers.

Here’s to a kind life well-lived and sung with reverence and gusto.

James F. Chatelle, 1928-2015
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Sept. 27 to Sept. 28, 2015

The Peace Which Passes All Understanding …

A dear friend and family member shared the following with me, and it resonated in my heart. Perhaps it will for you as well.

Summer blessings,


“Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control.  We can love and care for others but we cannot possess our children, lovers, family, or friends. We can assist them, pray for them, and wish them well, yet in the end their happiness and suffering depend on their thoughts and actions, not on our wishes.”  Jack Kornfield

Easter/Passover Blessings

During this time of Easter and Passover blessings and remembrances, a friend sent me the following, and I thought I’d pass it along.

Here’s to many long-time memories and new beginnings for all.


-posted in memory/celebration of the life of Dr. John Griffin of Port Lavaca, Texas (1929-1915)

The beauty of spring reveals
God’s faithfulness in making all things new.
May you experience the Joy of New Life
this Easter Season.

Gracious God,

Spring is a metaphor for change. Some changes we eagerly await, and others we resist. Some changes are planned and others arrive uninvited. To all these changes we ask the gift of Your perspective beckoning us toward expectation, hope, and rebirth.

May the sunlight and the rain be reminders that You are at work renewing all of Earth. As a God of Renewal, You are ever at work in our lives, too. Open our eyes and hearts to needed changes in our lives this Spring. Awaken us to new life and new perspectives…

A New Year/An Advent Beginning

As we begin the 2015 New Year, I am reminded of many wonderful Advent thoughts from internationally-recognized author and speaker, Paula D’Arcy. who wrote Gift of the Red Bird, Sacred Threshold, When People Grieve, and many others. In December 2014 Paula led an on-line retreat entitled Advent: A Pilgrimage of Anticipation.

Here is one particular quote from Paula’s book entitled Advent: A Time of Hope. Perhaps it will be helpful to you as you begin the New Year.

Many New Year blessings, Melody

From Paula D’Arcy:

…”Are you ready to know the reaches of your own heart and the power that lies within? Are you willing to look past what’s occurring on the surface? Are you willing to know deeper love? Sixty minutes is long enough to decide to relate to life differently. It’s long enough to lend yourself to the emergency of something great. It’s long enough to realize that in spite of the beauty of the Christmas story, it will remain a story unless I change the way I relate to my life. Otherwise, I will continue to lead a hurried, harried life and never embody the stillness and fierce love that made itself known in Bethlehem. It will all be words. Nothing changes until the human heart recognizes its own power.”

For All The Saints

On this All Saints Day, I am reminded of so many saints in my own life, both living and gone before. Such blessings, grace and gratitude for their existence and our connections rest and rejoice in my heart today!

Perhaps, and hopefully, you are remembering your own saints.

The words to Natalie Sleeth’s wonderful Hymn of Promise come to mind.

Written in memory of Chris Ashmos,


Hymn Of Promise Hymn

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.