OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
8801 Knoedl Ct., Little Rock
Harry Keatts Chenault, Sr.
Published: February 16, 2013
On February 13, 2013, Harry Keatts Chenault, Sr. took his final flight to his Home in Heaven with our Heavenly Father as his Co-Pilot. Harry is survived by his two children, Pamela Robinson of Little Rock, Arkansas and his son Harry Keatts Chenault, Jr., who is living in Jerusalem, Israel; two grandchildren, Tamera Harris and husband, Stan of in San Antonio, Texas and Todd McLane of Colorado Springs, Colorado; four great grandchildren: Ryan and Joshua Griffin, and Ellie and Jack Mclane; and one great-great grandson, Tristan Flores-Griffin.
Harry was born January 1, 1919. He is pre-deceased by the love of his life, his wife, Cotsy Rhea Chenault. He is also pre-deceased by his parents, Guy Nelson Chenault and Caroline Louise Demuth Chenault and by two brothers, Richard Demuth Chenault and Guy Nelson Chenault Jr., and three sisters, Mary Blazer, Theresa Bradford and Cupie Griffin. Harry had numerous brother-in-laws and sister-in-laws and is survived by four. He is also survived by numerous nephews.
Harry and Cotsy's marriage was a marriage made in Heaven. They always put the Lord at the center of their marriage. The first day they met Harry said he was going to marry Costy. When they were dating he would drop love-notes to her from his plane. After a five year courtship, they were married August 7, 1942, two days after Harry was commissioned in the Army Air Corps. They were married for 69 years and Harry always referred to Cotsy as his bride. Harry was well known for his devout Christian faith and impeccable honesty and integrity in all aspects of his life. He was totally devoted to his Lord and family.
He grew up at Fourche Dam Pike where he developed a great passion for flying. That resulted in his joining the 154th Air National Guard in Little Rock in the late 1930s. He distinguished himself by being the only boxer in the unit.
His boxing and track skills won him a boxing and track scholarship to Arkansas Tech. Harry was an undefeated boxer for three years at Little Rock High School, the Air National Guard, and Arkansas Technical University. He was the second fastest quarter-miler among Arkansas State Universities and ran an unofficial ten-second hundred yard dash.
The 154th remains active and has been supporting the War effort in the Middle East. Due to America's impending role in the Second World War, Harry went to Air Cadet School at Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas where he received his wings and commission. He was selected to fly the plane still considered to be the all-time best fighter-plane, the P-51 Mustang. Harry flew the first P-51 into the State of Arkansas. Having developed a life-threatening illness he was sent to the Army-Navy Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas where he was not expected to survive. After spending 17 months in the hospital, he greatly desired to help with the war effort and was assigned to train P-51 pilots who went on to assist America's Armed Forces in defeating the German military.
The P-51 pilots made a major contribution in winning the war by escorting bombers to fly over Germany and destroy their manufacturing plants, along with providing close air-support in various theatres of war. Harry had the distinction of flying with members of the famed Flying Tigers when they returned to the States. He was assigned to fly with numerous combat pilots when they retuned returned state-side in order to help them readjust to flying. He was honored to fly every single-engine Army and Navy fighter plane at that time and missed by one day to fly a jet plane.
While a cadet he was asked to pose in front of a plane with a tiger-shark painted on it, due to his relation to the infamous General Claire Lee Chennault who commanded the Flying Tigers. That picture was used to help recruit pilots. In December 2009, the historian at Little Rock Air Force Base came to Harry's home where Harry provided a videoed session about flying, the techniques of flying, and the P-51. The video and transcript were sent to Maxwell Air Force Base for current and future historians and Air Force personnel to review for the historical record.
After the War and receiving a full-Air Force Retirement, Harry, his wife and daughter moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas where he received a degree in Agriculture from the University of Arkansas. After graduation Harry was offered an opportunity to manage the largest cattle ranch in South America for ten years, but due to family reasons decided to become a teacher in the Arkansas Department of Agriculture in order to train other Agricultural teachers. In 1953 Harry became a sales-representative at the Little Rock office for Investors Diversified Services, today known as American Express. He distinguished himself by making the largest, single mutual-fund sale at the time in the mid-50s in the state of Arkansas and he became the leading salesman in his district during the years. After 19 years with IDS, Harry joined his wife in the real estate business where they worked for Faucett and Company, Wickard and Company, and Rector, Phillips, Morse.
Harry was a life-time sports enthusiast and hunted and fished most of his life with numerous members of his family and friends. He had a gifted ability to call ducks and had a great thrill in bringing them to the duck blinds. Later in life he took immense pleasure in playing golf winning numerous trophies in his flight.
Harry and Cotsy enjoyed many activities together, including golf, traveling and playing in a couples bridge club for 50 years, and as business associates in real estate. Harry truly enjoyed playing cards and taught three generations of his family to play cribbage. He loved reading his Bible, the Upper Room, and Louis L'Amour westerns.
Harry was very active in his community. He sang in the choir at St. Paul Methodist Church and St. James United Methodist Church for 35 years. He was a member of the Optimist Club and was a Mason. He was the first Vice-President at Western Hills Country-Club and a Board Member at Pleasant Valley Country Club. Pallbearers will be Todd McLane, Ryan Griffin, Joshua Griffin, Fred Blazer, Jr., Robert Bradford, Jr., and Henry Griffin. Honorary Pallbearers will be Major-General (Ret) Ray Robinson, Clyde Scott, Winston Faulkner, William Griffin, Jr., Charles Allen and Dr. Roger Bost, and Stan Harris.
The Chenault family is deeply grateful to the caregivers who have taken such wonderful care of Harry. They are Eartha Coleman, Juanita Brown, Opal McCoy, Tanita Scott, Juvita Armstrong, Vanessa Thomas, Melody Randle and Betty Amos.
Visitation will be Monday, February 18, 2013, from 6-8 p.m. at Little Rock Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Ct, Little Rock, Ark. A funeral service will be held Tuesday, February, 19, 2013, at St. James United Methodist Church on 321 Pleasant Valley Dr. at 10 a.m. followed by a reception at the church. The graveside service with an Air Force Honor Guard at Forest Hills Cemetery will be held at 1 p.m. Memorials may be made to the Ministry of Music at St. James United Methodist Church, 321 Pleasant Valley Dr., Little Rock, Ark. 72212.
Arrangements by Little Rock Funeral Home, (501) 224-2200. Mr. Chenault's online guestbook may be signed at www.littlerockfuneralhome.com.