Frances Chantilis

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Chantilis, Frances Blewett On the morning of October 21, 2013 Frances Blewett Chantilis, 79, went to be with the Lord after battling breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease. She was born in Dallas, Texas at her home, located on what is now called Live Oak Street (which at the time did not connect to old East Dallas) on January 14, 1934 to Lorinda Cummins and John Blewett of Indiana and Kentucky, respectively. She graduated as salutatorian from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1951, and subsequently earned a degree in fashion design at Southern Methodist University in 1955 where she joined Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. There she met and fell in love with Peter S. Chantilis and married July of 1958 after he completed SMU Law School. During her years before children, she worked in clothing design and pattern making with Nardis of Dallas before moving on to advertising with the Taylor Norsworthy Co. and Neiman Marcus. She left her career behind with the birth of her son, Samuel J, MD in 1961 and daughter, Stephanie in 1962. She devoted the next 20 years to her family and volunteered passionately for many organizations. She chaired the Park Cities 4th of July Parade, the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Bazaar, and Boy Scout Troop 70's Carnival raising funds for the National Jamboree. She helped found the Park Cities Women's Choir and was active in HPPC and LLUMC Church Choirs, as well as Jim Smith's Sunday school class at HPPC and Horizons class at LLUMC. She was President of the Highland Park High School PTA, and McCullough Middle School Cafeteria. She was actively involved (often a charter member) with many organizations including TACA, AWARE, Royal Oaks Country Club, Monday Bible Study led by Mary Shoemaker, DAR, Dallas Genealogical Society, Park Cities Historical Society, UP Beautification Foundation Parks Council, Founder and Program Chair of Park Cities Goar Park. Her favorite organization was the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League where she served as President in '83-'84. She was also President of the Symphony Showhouse and participated in some of the initial meetings to spearhead the building of the Mort Meyerson Symphony Hall. She poured her heart and energy into these organizations throughout her life. Upon the high school graduation of her children, she then embarked on a career in Real Estate, working with Ebby Halliday in the historic Preston Road office, achieving the Superstar Award and Top Producer in 1984. Mom was passionate about everything she did. What we will most remember her for is her love of living beautifully and her soft-spoken, demure, gracious, sophisticated personality and caring heart. She was known as the "Bird Lady of University Park" because she raised wounded birds or fledglings that fell from the nest too soon and nursed them to health, keeping those who couldn't fly and setting free those who could. Spunky, Star, and Blue were among her favorites - Blue was a fledgling Blue Jay who was nurtured until he could fly, was set free, then returned to visit Mom the following spring by landing on her shoulder. Mom created an "It's a Wonderful Life" type of home environment. We lived in a home filled with love and music, with homemade hot chocolate on the stove, singing around the piano and Christmas caroling throughout the neighborhood. We had a menagerie of pets and people, where "more the merrier" was the motto. She was a good and faithful servant, evident in her daily walk with God and her kind spirit. She loved her family and friends and lived to the end with amazing grace and gratitude. Her favorite Bible verses are framed and hanging in every room of her home, along with her treasured sign "LOVE SPOKEN HERE". She is preceded in death by her mom and dad, and Peter S. Chantilis. She is survived by her son, Samuel J. Chantilis, MD and wife Cheryl, and her daughter Stephanie and husband Bennie Bray, and five grandchildren, Austin, Ashley and Caroline Chantilis, and Chad and Alexis Bray; her cousins Todd Cansler and his wife Cheryl, Beverly Lasater, Brian Lasater, Brent Lasater and wife Sarah and children; in-laws Angelo and Zoe Chantilis, Connie Chantilis, Rosanne and Shane Beck, Angelo Jr and Teresa Chantilis, and their children. The family wishes to thank mom's dearest friend, Dee Whittlesey, for her friendship and for being the sister she always wished for, and for the Earth Angels who lovingly cared for our mom, Glenda Kelley, Leisa Bennett, J. Rene Taylor, Erma Gaston, Ester Martinez and Juany Hernandez. We couldn't have done it without you. A visitation and viewing will be held on Thursday 24 October at 9:30 am, with the funeral at 10:30 am, both in Shipp Chapel at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church. Interment will immediately follow at Laurel Land, followed by a luncheon reception at a private residence. Chris Canellos, Todd Cansler, Angelo Chantilis, Brian Lasater, Brent Lasater, and Bill Stokes will serve as pallbearers. Memorial donations may be made to AWARE or the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, or a . May her memory be eternal.

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Published in Dallas Morning News from Oct. 23 to Oct. 24, 2013
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