July 13, 1947 - September 12, 2019
Visitation: 5 – 7 p.m. Thursday, September 19, 2019 at Thompson’s Harveson & Cole Funeral Home.
Mass of Christian Burial: 10 a.m. Friday, September 20, 2019 at St. Patrick Cathedral, 1206 Throckmorton, Fort Worth.
Interment: Oakwood Cemetery
Memorials: Should friends desire, memorials in lieu of flowers may be given to a charity of choice.
John Thomas Chidgey, 72, died September 12, 2019.
John was born across the San Antonio River from San Antonio deValero – The Alamo on July 13, 1947.
He was the oldest son of the youngest Marine Corps drill instructor in the history of the Corps and whose mother was once the queen of Kelly Air Force Base.
John grew up in a Marine Corps family living many places and attending schools from San Antonio, North Carolina, Fort Smith, Arkansas, Beaumont, and Fort Worth where he graduated from Nolan Catholic High School in 1965.
As a freshman at San Antonio Central Catholic High School, he was an honor student, lettered in football and was a member of the ROTC Corps of Cadets. John’s dad was later posted to Fort Worth as a Marine recruiter in the early 60-‘s and John started Nolan Catholic High school where he served as a class officer.
John became the award winning editor of the school paper, “The Trumpet.” He played “Nichols” (the devil) in Archibald MacLeish’s play “J.B.” It was said that it was type casting.
After high school, John was active in the political and social life of the country. John was a liberal democrat involved with the important issues of the time that put him on the right side of history. From civil rights, opposition to the Viet Nam war, defending the environment and providing justice in the courtroom and finally helping hundreds of immigrants obtain legal status.
In 1960, John was a student coordinator in Robert F. Kennedy’s last campaign in San Antonio and South Texas. After graduation from St. Mary’s University in 1968, John joined the Marine Corps and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. It was said of him by the Marine Corps that: …Lt. Chidgey has one of the more effective and aggressive attitudes in his role as a Marine officer. This Lt. had the qualities sought by the Corps. Even in his disagreement with philosophy and purpose, he never delimited his loyalty. In role and task he rang true. His problem was his marching to “another drummer”.
After the Marines, John became a teacher and a political organizer, and with his friend, John Schwartz, co-founded the Texas League of Young Voters to advocate for the 18 year old vote.
He was one of the original teachers who volunteered to help integrate the FWISD and was assigned to the storied Dunbar Senior High School in 1970. There he taught government class and introduced and taught the first high school psychology class.
Pro-active in the Stop Six community, John regularly took students to Austin, and the Texas Legislature, where on one occasion his class lobbied for passage of the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday holiday.
In 1973, John received a Master’s degree in political science from North Texas State University and wrote in his thesis that the deteriorating environment was a failure of political will.
John eventually became a trial lawyer and because of his practice in the Fort Worth Stockyards and especially his special interest equine cases, has been called one of the last Stockyard Lawyers. John received his bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University, Master’s degree from North Texas State University and Juris Doctor degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law. After nearly forty years practicing law, he became a Texas Bar Emeritus Attorney.
John was preceded in death by his parent, Viola Roberta Holder Chidgey and John George Chidgey, and his wife, Debbie Ann Greer Chidgey, to whom he was married for 30 years and with whom he shared the love of family, horses, sailing and dancing on a dance floor at some honky-tonk or in the streets.
We bury his heart under an oak tree in Fort Worth but his soul will forever wonder in the shadow of the Alamo.
John is survived by his brothers, Robert and William; children, Jennifer Gerri Chidgey and wife, Jennifer Miller, John-Paul Chidgey and wife, Amanda, Julia Paur and husband, Kyle; step-son, Marty Griffith; grandchildren, Katie, John-Luke and Tex Chidgey, Eve Kroh and Sophia-Jean Paur.