William Franklin Chatham 12/21/44 - 10/31/23
Bill passed away early in the morning on October 31, 2023.
Bill was born to L.B. and Birt Chatham on December 21, 1944 and spent his childhood in Greenwood, MS. He affectionately told stories about how his parents owned the local general store where he worked as a child alongside his paperboy route. He was very responsible and hardworking even as a young child.
As a young adult, he attended the University of Mississippi earning a Bachelor’s degree in education. During his college years, he was a radio DJ where he was a sportscaster. He loved Ole Miss football all his life.
After college, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he was a decorated officer from 1967 to 1979. He was particularly proud of earning the Distinguished Flying Cross during the Vietnam War. He was proud to have served our country and was a member of the Ira C Eaker Chapter of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society in Little Rock, Arkansas.
After returning from the Air Force, he worked as the Executive Director of the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe and was also a deputy in Montezuma County, CO.
In 1983, he met his wife of 40 years, Joy Chatham in Mancos, CO. They married on November 26, 1983 at a dude ranch in a blizzard. Together they raised their daughter, Lisa Michele Chatham.
In 1984, the family moved to Texas when Bill was transferred by his company. The family spent 30 years in Texas where Bill made many lifelong friends, had his most successful career years as a petroleum land manager, and developed a serious love of Mexican food. He was known for routinely waking up his family for Huevos Rancheros on weekend mornings.
During their marriage, Bill and Joy enjoyed snow skiing, scuba diving, supporting Lisa in her endeavors and traveling. They loved traveling to Lake Tahoe, to tropical scuba destinations, taking cruises, and visiting Lisa wherever she was living.
In 2015, they fell in love with the slower pace and beauty of Arkansas, where they moved to retire. Their favorite pastime was spending time with their friends while camping for many weeks out of the year at state parks. They were members of the Spa City Sams and Spa City Camping Buddies camping clubs where they found their community in Arkansas. Bill was also a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Malvern, Arkansas.
They frequently visited Lisa and their granddaughter, Juna in California where Bill loved reading to Juna.
Bill and Joy had many beloved (and spoiled) pets during their marriage: Lucy, Baxter, Molly, Lily, Penny, Levi, Toby, Taz, Muffin, and Pinkie. These pets were the glue to their home and Bill loved them so much, even the cats.
Bill leaves behind his wife of 40 years, Joy Chatham, his daughter, Lisa Chatham, granddaughter, Juna Butler, brother Charles (Vicky) Chatham, Brother-in-law, Lee Sluyter, Nieces, Shannon Sluyter and Laufey Sluijter and his 2 beloved dogs, Baxter and Lucy as well as a host of chosen family members and friends.
Services will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Bill’s name to your local animal shelter or your church.