March 23, 1943 ~ October 5, 2021
Born in: Annecy, France
Resided in: College Station, Texas
Chantal Vessali, 78, of College Station, passed away on Tuesday October 5, 2021 at CHI St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bryan, Texas. A Celebration of Life will be held at The Stella Hotel – Celeste Ballroom Saturday October 30th at 2:30 p.m. followed by Visitation at 3:30 p.m.
Chantal was born on March 23, 1943 in Annecy, France to Gustave and Hélène Vial. She was the youngest of two girls. She studied art history in Florence, Italy where she met the love of her life, Parviz. Together, they immigrated to the United States in 1967 to pursue the American dream.
Chantal was an educator at heart. In 1968, she started the French School in Houston to serve French expatriate families working in the oil industry. When the Vessali family decided to head back to Iran in the mid-70s in order to open a satellite office for Parviz’s architecture business, she turned the school over to the Mission LaïqueFrançaise. The Mission Laïque came to an agreement with the Awty School, and the school programs merged thus creating the Awty International School.
The onset of the Iranian revolution immediately brought the Vessali family back to Houston. After some years at home raising her daughter Elianor, Chantal returned to her love of teaching at Lamar High School where she taught French, specializing in International Baccalaureate classes. She would also later return to Awty International School where she held the position of Head of Lower School and Pre-School. During her time there she devised and implemented a total immersion dual language program.
Another great love of Chantal’s was fashion. While a student at UofH and working a part-time job at Foley’s downtown, her chic style caught the eye of a manager, who as a result asked Chantal to be a floor model for the department. Years later, when the Vessali family moved to New York after the economic downturn of the mid-80s, Chantal was invited by a former student to work at Genny Fashion House, whose design director at the time was Gianni Versace. Chantal traveled the United States, Canada, and Mexico, directing trunk shows and conducting fashion clinics for buyers.
Like her husband Parviz, Chantal was so proud to be an American and a Texan. Upon immigrating to Houston in ’67, she immediately fell in love with the open warmth and kindness that she experienced from the Texans that she met. She recognized and appreciated the importance of their fierce independence and conservative values. As a result, she spent time and effort recruiting and supporting the next generation of conservative political candidates.
Chantal was devoted to her husband Parviz and daughter Elianor. Chantal’s heart was also forever tied to Annecy, her birthplace on the lake in the beautiful French Alps, to Switzerland, home of her father’s roots and family, and to Italy, home of her mother’s roots and where she studied and met her husband Parviz. She absolutely cherished her trips and visits with childhood friends and all her cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband Parviz and her parents Mr. Gustave Vial and Mrs. Hélène Ferrari Vial.
She is survived by her daughter Elianor, of College Station; sister Michelle, of France; and many beloved cousins.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Texas Public Policy Foundation at www.texaspolicy.com/donate/vessali or to the Salvation Army of Bryan/College Station at www.salvationarmybcs.org (Please select and complete dedication In Memory of Chantal Vessali).
Elianor, I am so sorry for your loss. She was such a vibrant and beautiful spirit. I’m grateful she is with Parviz again.
Dear Elianor, Carol and I are so sorry to learn of Chantel’s passing. She was a committed and strong voice in the community. I enjoyed visits with her and learning about her background and growing up in Europe. Those experiences certainly gave her focus and purpose. I will miss seeing her around town, at St. Mary’s and at the voting centers; and the spark she created in our dialogue. May she Rest In Peace with Parviz.
I really enjoyed our visits and conversations about France, the homeland of my mother’s family. We are poorer for her passing and her strong influence and values will be missed.
She and Parvize will rest together with the Lord.
Her life was part history, part glamour, part adventure, part patriot, and all love. One of my favorite memories though sad, was listening to the way she spoke to Parvis, when he was in the hospital. What a great example of love for me to see. I am honored to have known her, Parvis, and to still know Elianor. May God hold them close in His presence, and May He comfort and give peace to all who love this family.
We are so sorry for your loss. It’s never easy to loose one’s mother. But I like to think that mothers live forever, through the values and love they instill in their children. May her soul rest in peace. We wish we could have been with you but our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.
Please accept our deepest sympathies.
Elie & family.
I am very sad to hear of your Mother’s and your Father’s passing. They were two of the most beautiful, special people I have ever known. Before I left College Station, I was part of the lunch bunch too, and oh! The problems we solved during that lunch time! I send you blessings and peace.
God Bless you during this difficult time. Your parents were always such a wonderful couple to visit with at events. I know how much they loved this country, Texas, and the Brazos Valley-
Charles and Belinda Schwertner
Dear Elianor: I simply cannot believe that you, and all of us, have lost both Chantal and Parviz! It will take me awhile to process this incredible loss. You may remember that during the week when she was the Principal at Awty School, Chantal lived with us so she wouldn’t have to make that drive to College Station every evening, and we had a party every day. I feel I have lost a beloved member of my family and my children feel the same. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling. I know you are such a strong person, but still…..my heart is aching for you. I will miss both Chantal and Parviz for the rest of my life.
Que cette lumière accompagne ta maman, Chantal, ma très chère cousine, sur le chemin de son nouveau voyage où elle va rejoindre Parviz, l’Amour de sa vie.
Mon chagrin est grand face au vide qu’elle va laisser dans nos cœurs et je n’ose imaginer l’immense douleur que sa perte représente pour toi.
Repose en paix ma Toutoune.
Il n’y aura jamais d’autre Chantal Vessali : une belle linguiste et leader sophistiquée qui m’a beaucoup influencée lorsque j’étais adolescente et étudiante sous sa tutelle. Elle parlait souvent de vous, Elianor, quand vous étiez étudiante à Awty. Je ne peux qu’imaginer votre douleur, mais j’espère que les doux souvenirs que vous avez créés avec vos parents vous réconforteront. Merci d’avoir répondu à mes SMS et de m’avoir tenu au courant. J’espère vous rencontrer un jour. Gig’em. Ici. ♥️
There will never be another Chantal Vessali: a beautiful, sophisticated linguist and leader who influenced me very much when I was a teenager and student under her tutelage. She often talked about you, Elianor, when you were a stud Awty. I can only imagine your pain, but I hope that the sweet memories you made with your parents will comfort you. Thank you for responding to my text messages and keeping me informed. I hope to meet you someday. Gig’em. Here.♥️
I have indelible memories of your mother and the time we spent together in College Station, Annecy and Chambery.
She was incredibly proud of your strength and aplomb; I hope they support you in your grief.
I am truly in shock at the loss of such warm, wonderful friends, but thankful that I had them in my life. Chantal and Parviz were very special people. They have enriched this world with their presence.
I will miss seeing her somewhere in France or Europe on her visit here. Oh how I shall miss to see her beautiful genuine smile and laughter.
Dear Elianor, I wish you all the strength to bear this loss.
Rest in peace, Mme. Vessali!
Mes condoléances a sa fille Elianor et aux reste de sa famille.
Une grande dame. Chantal Vessali rayonnait par son charisme et sa générosité. Nous n’oublierons pas l’accueil chaleureux qu’elle et sa famille nous a réservé à notre arrivée à Houston. Elle est restée une amie très fidèle et très dévouée pendant plus de 20 ans. L’éloignement n’a jamais été un obstacle à ses manifestations d’amitié. J’ai admiré sa culture et son empathie pour ceux qui l’entouraient. Elle ne quittera jamais mon cœur.
I was a student at Awty from 2nd-12th grade and fondly remember Mrs. Vessali as my lower school principal. What I’ll remember most is that despite my numerous behavior issues those first few years, she always believed in me. She knew I wasn’t just a troublemaker and would turn out fine. I kept visiting her every now and then after school as I went through middle and upper school. I wish I’d made the trip to College Station last time I was back home, but I and my parents will remember her fondly.
Chantal was a vibrant part of the Brazos County Historical Commission and we all were looking forward to seeing her as we began our in-person meeting again this fall. I only knew her a handful of years, but have several fond memories of Chantal.