Kathryn Ross Chastant
Kathryn Ross Chastant

Kathryn Ross Chastant, 89, passed away at home near Granger, Texas on June 3, 2019, surrounded by loved ones.

Our amazing Kathryn was born near Sonora, Texas on June 24, 1929, to rancher Joe Brown Ross and Lena Belle Briggs Ross.

The Ross Ranch and the lifestyle it required gave her great joy, as well as an appreciation for hard work and for stewardship of the land. These were values she helped instill in her younger brother and sister, both whom called her “Crackie” throughout her life.

An accomplished hunter and trapper, teenaged Kathryn used her skills to help provide for the family during WWII. In high school, she earned a spot on the first Sonora debate team and distinguished herself in the role. Always active with the family’s livestock interest, Kathryn was honored by being an early Miss Mohair, crowned by the Texas Angora Goat Association.

Kathryn attended Southwestern State University in Georgetown for two years. That’s where she fell in love with rocks and decided to transfer to a school with a good geology curriculum. At Louisiana State University, she earned her degree in geology. As the only woman in the program, Kathryn had to obtain special permission to wear pants on campus for some activities. She caught the attention of Assistant Professor Lester Chastant, Jr., whom she married in 1950.

Residing in New Orleans, Kathryn taught Geology and Earth Science at St. Martin’s School. She once noticed some students cheating on a test, but she remained silent and collected their exams with all the other students’ test. Taking them home, she gleefully used the cheaters’ exams to play muddy tug of war with the family dog. The next day she told the offending students she was so sorry about the “accident” with her dog but that they had to retake the test. Kathryn was endlessly creative.

From the Girl Scouts, Kathryn had learned to knit. Throughout her life, She pursued her interests in fiber arts. Knitting, sewing, spinning and weaving were abilities in which she excelled. As an adult, she was a popular textile instructor and writer with many published articles.

After Lester died, Kathryn returned to Texas in 2000. Living with her sister, she became an integral part of the family’s grass-fed beef and sustainable land resource businesses. She continued to make beef deliveries well into her 89th year and never lost the pride she felt for her roots in her family and in the land.

Our fearless Kathryn had a great sense of adventure. She took groups of 8th graders on trips to Tennessee where they all learned to rappel down cliffs. For her 60th birthday, she piloted an alpine slide down a mountain in Colorado. For her 75th, she went skydiving and enjoyed it immensley.
Her Christian faith was important throughout her life. Kathryn was active in volunteering her time and skills with the church, especially All Saints Episcopal Church in New Orleans. She was instrumental in many of their activities, including development of La Bonne Cuisine cookbook and bible studies.

Kathryn is survived by her sister, Betsy Ross of Granger, her brother Joe David Ross (Frances) of Sonora, and her three children, Lee Chastant of Lumberton, TX, Renee Chastant (Steve Canton) of Fort Myers, FL, and Andree Chastant Kienitz of Greeley, CO.

She is also survived by four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and a plethora of beloved friends.

A memorial service will be held at Saint James Episcopal Church at 614 Davis St. in Taylor, TX Friday, June 14, at 5 p.m. The family welcomes donations to the American Cancer Society, the Good Samaritan Youth Program of Sonora, (PO Box 645, Sonora, 76950), or to the charity of your choice..