Rose Merle Chavis
Rose Merle Chavis
  • August 28, 1937 - December 29, 2017
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Rose Merle Chavis, a former Oklahoma City Public School teacher, passed away on Friday, December 29, 2017. She was 80 years old.

Mrs. Chavis was born August 28, 1937, in North Carolina to parents who were teachers, Reverend Henry Williams and Hazel Neal Williams. She was their only daughter. Like her parents & her only sibling, Dr. Henry Neal Williams, an internationally-recognized professor of microbiology, she became an educator after earning a Bachelor's degree from Winston-Salem State University. Her family was active during the Civil Rights Movement, and one of her best memories was hearing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak at an event her father helped organize.

Growing up in a family of educators, and then becoming an educator herself, Rose believed ardently in the power of education and particularly literacy. She strongly encouraged her students and their parents to read outside of the classroom, early and often.

Rose met her husband, the late Col. Langley J. Chavis, through family ties. They married in 1962, when the young officer and pilot was in between tours of duty to Vietnam. As a military wife, Rose left North Carolina and her teaching career, and traveled the country and the world. Langley and Rose had three daughters together: Shaun, Tara, and Kris.

In 1982, the family moved to Oklahoma City, and in 1986, Rose's husband started a government contracting business, Southway Services, in the family dining room. To support the family during the first years of the business, Rose returned to teaching, and taught at West Nichols Hills Elementary School for most of her teaching career in Oklahoma. She retired from teaching in 2006.

Rose Chavis is survived and loved by her brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Henry Neal Williams and Mary Williams; her three daughters, Shaun, Tara, and Kris Chavis; "son" Samuel Brooks; granddaughter, Shayla Rose Chavis-Smith; "grandchildren," Natascha, Sayde & Jeanierose Brooks; "great-grandchildren," Elijah & Nai'ah; and a number of nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Chavis's memorial service will be held at 11am on Monday, January 8, 2018 at Church on the Rock in Oklahoma City. Her ashes will be interred with her husband's at Arlington National Cemetery at a date yet to be determined.