Mary Bess Polk Chastain, 80, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family and long-time friends on Saturday afternoon, July 19, 2008.

Mary Bess was born on Sept. 26, 1927, in Brownwood, Texas, to A.L. Polk and Nannie E. Smith Polk. She was the youngest child of eight (four boys and four girls) and was preceded in death by her parents and six of her seven siblings.

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Dennis and Lillian Chastain of Cypress, Texas; daughter Marilyn Wood of Austin, Texas; and daughter and son-in-law George and Judy Johns of Huntington Beach, Calif. Her grandchildren, Lindsey and Leslie Chastain of Austin, Texas; Amanda Wood of Austin, Texas; Kendra, Kelsey and Kayla Johns of Huntington Beach, Calif., will all dearly miss their “Mamaw”. Her grandchildren were the center of her life and she followed the accomplishments and growth of each and every one of them avidly.

Our Mom grew up in Brownwood, Texas, and graduated from Howard Payne College after the end of World War II. She moved to Austin in the late ’40s where she raised her family and spent her entire adult life. She was registrar and librarian at Johnston High School in Austin, Texas, before her retirement from AISD. She was on the Board of Directors of the Austin Girls’ Choir and followed their accomplishments and concerts when able. She was active in the Retired Teachers Association and attended meetings and functions regularly.

Most important to Mom was being an active member of Highland Park Baptist Church. Her church family meant everything to her. She was truly blessed by her faithfulness and we find great peace in that knowledge. We wish to thank the members of Highland Park for everything they have done.

The family would like to express its gratitude to the staff at Buckner Villas for their kindness during our Mom’s brief stay and Hospice Austin for their assistance and support in helping cope with Mom’s illness. Also, we are especially grateful to Mom’s closest neighbors who watched out for her and treated her as one of their own.

The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, July 21, 2008, at Cook-Walden Funeral Home.

Memorial Services will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 22, 2008, at Highland Park Baptist Church, 5206 Balcones Dr., Austin, Texas. Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 23, 2008, at Greenleaf Cemetery in Brownwood, Texas.