Dr. Chantrey A. Fritts Jr.

19310409 –


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Chantrey Alfred Fritts, Jr., was 85 years old when he went home to be with the Lord on the evening of August 9, 2016. He was a 41 year resident of Abilene, Texas, spending the final few years of his life in Lubbock. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Aynsley. Born on April 9, 1931, in Sterling, Colorado, just one year before The Great Depression, Chantrey was the son of Edna Violet Smith and Chantrey Alfred Fritts, Sr. Chantrey Junior, as he was affectionately referred to by all the relatives, was a studious, hard-working young man with aptitude in music. As a little boy, he would travel with his daddy on the campaign trail, sometimes entertaining his father’s audiences by performing piano solos. Chantrey’s home was Denver, Colorado, from 1933 until 1967. He loved studying the history of his home state, even working summers in the Colorado State Museum. He enjoyed the city of Denver, attending concerts and operas, touring the zoo and natural history museum, as well as picnicking in Washington Park, which was just a mile from his home church Logan Street Church of Christ, where his family was involved each week with fellowship and worship. At the age of ten, Chantrey’s parents adopted a baby girl named Nancy Ann from The Colorado State Children’s Home in Denver. Chantrey enjoyed babysitting his little sister and claimed to be her greatest “advocate” as they grew up. Chantrey attended the Denver public schools. He graduated from South Denver High School in 1949. In his own words, Chantrey declared that “the memory of World War II was clearly stamped in my mind.” He headed off to college in Abilene, Texas, to attend Abilene Christian College, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1953. Chantrey earned his M.A. from The University of Denver in 1954. In 1967, he earned his doctor’s degree in education (Ed. D.) also from The University of Denver. At the age of 23, in the fall of 1954, Chantrey met the love of his life in the university class at South Denver Church of Christ. Aynsley Lillian Ruth Pennock was a beautiful young 17-year-old from Canada whose family moved to Denver and attended that same church. Aynsley was a freshman at The University of Denver, and Chantrey was an English teacher at Byers Junior High. In Chantrey’s own words, he said what attracted him to Aynsley was her “wonderful, special optimism that always saw the best in people and in experiences they shared.” Chantrey said Aynsley had great insight, was very intelligent, and very wise. He proposed to her in his 1949 black Ford, after leaving the movie theater having just seen the movie “The Last Time I Saw Paris.” Chantrey and Aynsley were married on June 11, 1955 at South Denver Church of Christ. Dad said Aynsley looked very young, beautiful, and radiant. He said he was proud to be her husband and eager to face the future with her by his side. Continuing his career in education in the Denver Public School System both as a teacher and an administrator, Chantrey also fulfilled military duty in the U.S. Army Reserve, acquired professional degrees and certifications at The University of Denver, and preached on occasion at Idaho Springs Church of Christ. On January 25, 1958, Deborah Ruth was born to Chantrey and Aynsley. Three years later on April 28, 1961, Jennifer Sue was born. Just six years later, they moved their young family to Abilene, Texas, where Chantrey served as a professor for 41 years at his alma mater Abilene Christian University until 2008. Chantrey taught hundreds of college students over the years, supervised student teachers in the public schools, chaired the College of Education, and faithfully served as an elder at Hillcrest Church of Christ. Known as a real trend-setter with his fashionable dress, Chantrey was popular with his students, constantly cheering them along through the challenges of the teaching profession. Many students and families were blessed to enjoy the hospitality of the Fritts home, while Aynsley cooked gourmet recipes and Chantrey laughed and visited with their guests. In 2007, Aynsley was diagnosed with lung cancer. Chantrey and Aynsley moved to Lubbock in 2008, where Aynsley received cancer treatment. Chantrey tenderly cared for Aynsley during that time, rejoicing on that day when she was officially declared “cancer-free.” The tables turned over these past 3 years, as Aynsley faithfully cared for Chantrey to the very end. He demonstrated courageous faith in his battle with Alzheimers, a disease that he had always feared. His ongoing request during these final months was to “go home.” Tuesday evening his desire became reality as he joined that “great cloud of witnesses”. Chantrey was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Nancy Vourexes. Those left to cherish his memory are his loving wife, Aynsley Pennock Fritts, three daughters, Debbie Paxton and husband Jeff of Lubbock and Jennifer Carpenter and husband Curtis of Austin and Toga Broom and husband Adam of Paragould, Arkansas, six grandchildren, Jennifer Paxton, Adrienne Plekenpol and husband Chris, Jeff Paxton, Jr. and wife Rachel, Elizabeth Day and husband Bryan, Aynsley Broom and Manaia Broom; three great grandchildren, Austin Plekenpol, Jett Plekenpol, and Leanna Day; two nieces, Becky Hawley of Loveland, CO and Peggy Vourexes of Denver, CO and a nephew, Mark Vourexes of Denver, CO. Memorials are suggested to the Jeremiah’s Hope Ministry @ jeremiahshope.org


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