Charles Eugene Chassay, 80, entered into God's heavenly presence February 10, 2023. His strong will to live a full life, unwavering faith in God, and the love and prayers of family, friends, and many supporters carried him throughout his recent courageous struggle.
Charles was born on April 24, 1942 in Chicago, IL to Roger Paul Chassay, Sr. and Ruby Ruth Taylor, the youngest of four children. The family lived in Columbia, MS and both DeRidder and Iowa, Louisiana before settling in Lake Charles. He was a first-class baseball player and played a significant part in his high school’s appearance in the football state championship game. He was voted Most Likely to Succeed by his classmates. After graduating from LaGrange High School (LA) in 1960, he attended Louisiana State University. He was active in social life and occupational societies, and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha and Alpha Phi Omega. In addition, Charles was elected president of the College of Engineering.
He married his high school sweetheart, Janice Marie DeRouen, on September 7, 1963 at St. Margaret Catholic Church in Lake Charles. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering August 1964 and moved to the Houston area for his new position at Shell Chemical. In October 1966, he moved his pregnant wife and toddler son to Sagemont. In March 1967, he accepted his dream position at what is now NASA Johnson Space Center as an engineer in the Life Sciences Division. He was on the Space Technology Applied to Rural Papago Advanced Health Care (STARPAHC) Telemedicine System Project Team in the 1970’s. He played significant roles in the Landing and Recovery Division with the Apollo flights programs. He spent most of his career at NASA as a Payload Integration Manager for the Space Shuttle’s Middeck. He successfully prepared a Saudi Arabian prince for flight as well as both Teacher-In-Space payload specialists Christa McAuliffe and backup Barbara Morgan. He finished his career at NASA with the Space Station team and retired in 1997 after 30 years. After a brief stint with Hernandez Engineering post retirement, he worked for Boeing for 5 years as a senior engineering specialist. He then retired again in 2005 to care for his wife Janice until her death in 2014.
Married for 50 years, Charles and Janice raised their two sons, Mark and Trent, in Houston. Residing in Sagemont for 56+ years and surviving three floods, Charles loved activities with his family and the community. He enjoyed playing bridge with his wife and neighbors. He particularly was fond of his time as a youth sports coach in the South Belt Area. After the Sagemont / Beverly Hills Little League (SBHLL) was forced to relocate in 1974, Charles helped lead the efforts for the USA Fields on Dixie Farm Road. He had a servant’s heart. When Janice would go play bridge, Charles would take his young sons and drive to the fields to work. With only the lights of his car to guide him, he would put Mark and Trent on his lap and bulldoze the fields making way for the ballparks and parking lot as fast as he could before his wife returned home. Charles was a manager for nine straight years for his sons in both SBHLL and South Belt Area Pony Colt. Three of those years he coached both boys on the same team. His teams won often and he was frequently appointed by the leagues to lead various tournament and all-star teams. He also coached for the Sagemont Knight youth football teams and assisted in the inaugural Sagemont Spurs youth soccer season.
Charles also participated with his boys in the East End YMCA Adventure Guides and in leadership as an assistant chief. He also was an advocate for the Sagemont community after the flood in 1979. He petitioned the Harris County Flood District many times to enlarge the Beamer ditch, which was ultimately done. He was a devout Catholic and volunteered as an usher at St. Luke the Evangelist for many years. He served as the president of the J. Frank Dobie Booster Club from 1983-1984.
A beloved brother, husband, father and Grandpa, he will be missed for his altruistic spirit, intellect, love of Corvairs and coin collecting. He is survived by his sons Mark (Kimberly) and Trent, grandsons Huston and Weston Chassay. Brother Roger Chassay, sister-in-law Becky DeRouen, and many beloved cousins, nieces, and nephews also survive him.
Visitation will be Monday, February 20 from 5:00pm until 7:00pm at Johnson Funeral Home, 4321 Lake Street. The Funeral Service will be Tuesday, February 21 at 10 a.m. at Johnson Funeral Home. The Rite of Committal will be at Goos Cemetery in Lake Charles.
In lieu of flowers and for those wishing, memorial donations may be made to Dobie Hall of Honor Scholarship Fund (check payable to Dobie High School; memo Hall of Honor Scholarship; mailing address 10220 Blackhawk Blvd., 77089).