Baylor Mourns Death of Longtime Baylor Supporter

Oct. 29, 2008
News Photo 4593Baylor University Alumnus Honoris Causa Harry Chavanne and his wife, Baylor alumna Hazel Prince Chavanne.

Baylor University Alumnus Honoris Causa Harry Chavanne passed away Oct. 24 in Houston at the age of 96. Along with his wife, Baylor alumna Hazel Prince Chavanne, who preceded him in death, the couple was committed to serving students and promoting Christian ethics education at Baylor.

"I recall Harry Chavanne saying, 'I can accomplish anything in life as long as I don't care who gets the credit.' He was a wonderful example of a businessman who also was a servant-leader," said Dr. Terry Maness, dean of Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. "His vision to emphasize Christian ethics in business education has served Baylor well and will serve the business community well as our students enter the professional world."

Chavanne enjoyed a career in banking, real estate, ranching and various other endeavors. He served as president of Chavanne Enterprises until his retirement in 1998 and was the founder and former Chairman of the Board of Lakeside National Bank in Lake Charles, La. A 1933 Rice University graduate, he was a trustee emeritus at Rice and has been honored with many awards, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Gold Medal. He has served as a director of the Baptist Foundation of Texas, the Institute for Religion and Health, and the Kiwanis Club of Houston Foundation. In addition, he was an active member and deacon of South Main Baptist Church in Houston.

Although Chavanne did not attend Baylor, his wife, Hazel, earned her bachelor of arts degree in speech communication from the university in 1938, and he received Baylor's Alumnus Honoris Causa designation, the highest honor bestowed by the university upon non-alumni. Together they supported the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in Business at the Hankamer School of Business, as well as the Mary Ellen Chavanne Scholarship Fund, the William J. Boswell Chair in Law, Student Foundation, Armstrong Browning Library Guardian Angel Fund and the Library Book Fund. Chavanne was a member of the Old Main Society and the Baylor Alumni Association. Mr. and Mrs. Chavanne were recognized as members of the Baylor University Medallion Fellowship, first with the James Huckins and Pat Neff Medallions in 1989, then with the Presidents Medallion in 2004.

The Chavanne's daughter, Mary Chavanne Martin, served on the Baylor Board of Regents from 1996-2006.

He is survived by his children and their spouses: Claire and Oscar Turner of Houston, David and Wendy Chavanne of College Station, Mary and Dick Martin of Houston, and Jeannie and Tim McGann of Houston; grandchildren: Lisa and Darrell Taylor, Paige and Jason Swiggart, Lindy and John Minter, Marlo and Paul Wise, Michael Martin, David Martin and Riley McGann, all of Houston, Jonathan Chavanne of College Station, Philip and Andrea Chavanne of Brady, Texas, and Casey McGann of Valencia, Calif.; great-grandchildren: Morgan, Brooks, Graham and Colton Taylor, Chambers, Harrison and Preston Swiggart, Anna Claire, Luke and Molly Minter, Vivian and Elizabeth Wise, all of Houston; nephews: Leon Hyatt, Dick Hyatt, Phil Hyatt, Don Chavanne and niece Jane Hayes, all of Louisiana; and sister-in law, Dorothy Prince Robinson of Houston.

A memorial visitation was held in the parlor of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons in Houston on Tuesday, Oct. 28. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at South Main Baptist Church in Houston, with a reception immediately following in the Fellowship Hall. For those desiring, memorial contributions can be made in Chavanne's honor to the South Main Baptist Church Foundation, Rice University or the Hazel and Harry Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in Business at Baylor University.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?