Durwood Chalker 1923-2009

Durwood Chalker 1923-2009, originally uploaded by manlyartjpc.

Durwood Chalker passed away at the age of 86 shortly after 9:00pm on Monday, December 14, 2009 at Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Durwood is survived by his wife of nearly 56 years, Vada Ray (83) and his three sons: Daniel (Cherry), David (Julia) and Jason. He was a proud grandfather to six grandchildren: Jessica, Daniel II, Hannah, Noah, Caleb and Phoebe. Durwood was preceded in death by his parents, Robert N. and Leona Cook Chalker, a sister and three brothers. His surviving siblings are Merle Wilcox (sister) of Cisco and Sam Chalker (brother) of Bastrop.

Durwood was born on August 22, 1923 in Eolian, TX. He answered his country’s call and enlisted in the Navy in February of 1943 in the submarine service. During his service in World War II, he achieved the rank of Radioman, 2nd Class and was stationed on Guam for the bulk of his service. Durwood was honorably discharged in January of 1946.

After the war, Durwood attended Texas A&M and graduated with an electrical engineering degree in 1950. Shortly thereafter he began work as a junior engineer at West Texas Utilities in Abilene, Texas. A friend introduced him to Vada Ray McAdams in 1953. Durwood and Vada hit it off, and were wed in December of that year.

Durwood continued working hard at West Texas Utilities and became president in 1975. He was very active in the Abilene community until he was transferred to Corpus Christi, Texas to be president of Central Power and Light in 1979. He was quickly promoted again to CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the holding company, Central and Southwest Corporation based in Dallas, Texas in 1980. He continued on in that position until his retirement in 1988. During his retirement he continued to enjoy playing golf, jogging and reading. He was especially happy to have more time to be a doting grandfather.

Throughout his life, Durwood always made time for his family, many charities and worthwhile causes. He served as a director or trustee for many organizations, such as the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Boy Scouts Circle Ten Council (for which he was awarded the Silver Beaver), the Sammons Foundation, the Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation, the Texas A&M Chancellor’s Century Council and others.

Durwood was a “die hard” Aggie, loved to laugh and was never one to simply watch life go by. Even with all of his success in the business world and his many awards and achievements, Durwood remained a humble, honest West Texas country boy at heart. Durwood Chalker was a wonderful man who led an amazing life. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends.

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