Joy and Ben Chamness
Joyce Marie Elam Chamness and Benjamin Hobson Chamness, Jr., of Lockhart, Texas passed on June 9, 2015. They lived their dreams. Married for 64 years, they started their journey together on a rainy day in 1951. Joy and Ben will be greatly missed by their two children, four grandchildren, and great-granddaughter.
Joy, born in Luling, was such a beauty that she won Miss Guadalup
e County in 1948. She attended Southwest Texas State College to become a teacher, where she was also a member of the Square Dance Club. In college, she met Ben and they were married a year later.
Ben, born in Luling, was most commonly known as “B.H.” until he joined the Marine Corps in 1946. He earned a degree in architecture from Texas A&M (’51), where he also took ROTC courses. He joined the Air Force after graduation, where he was a jet pilot and flight instructor. While in the Air Force he earned a second degree in Industrial Engineering at Texas A&M. Ben retired in 1970 as a lieutenant colonel with Commendation for Meritorious Service during the Vietnam War.
During their time as part of the military, Joy taught second grade in Biloxi, Miss., and English to first graders in Japan. While stationed in Japan, she also had the opportunity to take classes in flower arranging, art, and oil painting; the latter became a passion of hers. In supporting her husband, she held several offices in the Air Force Wives Club as Ben moved up the ranks.
Upon retirement, Joy and Ben settled in Lockhart. Ben established TEAD, an engineering and surveying firm, employing young men from the local high school’s after-school work program, most of whom pursued engineering careers. Joy became very active in community groups, including the Lockhart Art Guild, Garden Club, Busy Hands Crafts Club, and the Irving Club – holding offices in each. Joy and Ben were also very proud of their grandchildren and spent many summers and holidays taking them to local attractions like the Luling Watermelon Thump. During their twilight years, they became active in social dance circles, jitterbugging the evenings away.
Their children, Dana Chamness and his wife, Melanie, of Houston, and Denise Chamness Germer and her husband, Gregg Germer, Sr., of Wimberley, survive Joy and Ben. Grandchildren, Maura Chamness, Gregg Germer, Jr. and his wife, Holly, Christopher Germer, and Suzanne Chamness, and one great-granddaughter, Evelyn Germer, also survive them.
Joy’s siblings, Dennis Elam and his wife Brenda, Patricia Priest and her husband, Bob, and George Ann Willard, and Ben’s brother, Michael Chamness and his wife, Betty, and his sister-in-law, Margaret Chamness, also survive them.
Joy and Ben were preceded in death by her parents, Leah and George Elam and his parents, Elizabeth and B.H. “Heavy” Chamness, Sr.; and Ben’s brothers, Franklin, Ervin and Errol Chamness.
A family celebration of remembrance was held to honor Ben and Joy on Sunday, June 14. The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Death with Dignity National Center, 520 SW 6th Ave., Suite 1220, Portland, OR 97204. Read more about the organization, or contribute online at www.deathwithdignity.org.