Longtime Baytown resident, Dr. Neal Chastain, passed away early Monday morning, surrounded by friends and family. Dr. Neal looked forward to joining his wife, Pat, and his brother, C.B., and his parents, Claude and Faye in heaven and passed gracefully into the arms of the Maker.
Neal was born May 9, 1923, in Sidney, TX and moved as a child to Rising Star, and later on to Brownwood. He attended Texas A & M University, graduating from the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1944. During WW II, Neal, a Captain in the U.S. Army, was stationed in Chicago, IL and was in charge of inspecting the beef that was sent overseas.
After the war, Dr. Neal went in practice with his older brother, Dr. Claude B. (C.B.) Chastain in Brownwood. The Chastain brothers were well known and respected in Comanche County and the surrounding counties as excellent veterinarians who went the extra mile to treat cattle and domestics pets as well.
When the drought of the 1950's hit West Texas, the cattle business dried up as well, and the Chastain brothers were forced to head for greener pastures. Neal and C.B. purchased a veterinary practice from Dr. Naylor in Baytown, and Neal moved to Baytown with C.B. and family to join him as soon as the practice could support them.
The early 60's were both difficult and joyous for Neal, capturing the love of his life, Madeline E. "Pat" Bennett of New Orleans, LA yet losing his beloved father in 1960 and soon after, his friend, mentor and brother, C.B. Neal missed his brother greatly and finally joined him on May 8, 2017.
Dr. Neal was a respected and well-liked veterinarian who never failed to answer a call, day or night. His surgical skills were off the charts, and he was one of the first veterinarians to perform open heart surgery (successfully) at the A & M Veterinary School. He also devised an orthopedic process for dogs with hip and leg problems, and the Veterinary School wanted him to teach, but he declined preferring to practice Veterinary Medicine rather than teach it.
He married 'Pat' Bennett in 1960, and thus began a wonderful relationship for 52 years. Pat and Neal were well known in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) circles with both receiving numerous accolades and awards. Neal worked on nearly every committee at the Live Stock show, and he personally breathed life into the International Committee and is the only person to be named Ambassador to the International Committee. His picture still graces the cover of the International Committee and will continue to do so. He was a Lifetime Vice President and for years, members of HLSR have referred to him lovingly as Dr. Neal. His accomplishments at the HLSR are numerous and legendary, from setting up A & M Night to helping to raise millions in educational scholarships opportunities for students.
Neal will be remembered for his many random acts of kindness, his strong work ethic, his devotion to Pat, his love of all things A & M, and his sly sense of humor. He will be missed, and stories of him will last for generations.
His was preceded in passing by his mother and father, Faye and Claude Chastain, his brother, Dr. C.B. Chastain, and his beloved wife, Madeline E. "Pat" Chastain. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Robbie and Laura Bennett of Denver, CO, his grandsons, Matthew Bennett of Denver and John Dyer of Humble and a multitude of friends. Neal's life was an adventure, and he left us with no regrets. He lived a full and wondrous life.
His family will receive friends at Navarre Funeral Home Thursday from 5 PM until 7 PM. On Friday, May 12, 2017, a funeral service will be held at Memorial Baptist Church, 600 W. Sterling St., Baytown, TX 77520, at 11 AM. Be prepared to celebrate the wonderful life of Dr. Neal Chastain.
Serving as pallbearers will be Richard Peebles, Phil Chandler, Mark McConathy, Matthew Bennett, Aubrey Alexander, and John Gunn. Honorary pallbearers will be Bob Meister, Vance Reynoir, Dr. Tom Sawyer, Monte C. Shalett, and Russell Frankel.
In lieu of usual remembrances, contributions may be made to Memorial Baptist Church or the Texas A & M College of Veterinary Medicine, College Station, TX, 77843.
To view the online obituary or to post a tribute for the family, go to www.navarrefuneralhome.com
Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of Navarre Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 2444 Rollingbrook Dr., Baytown, TX, 77521 (281) 422-8111.