Hartwell Chenault

Hartwell Lynn Chenault

Monday, April 28th, 1941 - Saturday, September 7th, 2019
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Hartwell Lynn Chenault, 78, of Roanoke, died peacefully at his home on Saturday, September 7, 2019.

Born in Richmond, Lynn graduated from Maury High School in Norfolk. He majored in music at Duke University and graduated in 1962. Lynn served in the Army Reserves. He became a “music man” the next year teaching band in Henrico County. The shift to social work began the following year when he was employed as a probation officer at the Henrico County Juvenile Court. That led him to earn a master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Louisville.

His career was mostly in community behavioral health, the last 34 years of it as CEO of area community mental health operations in southern MI, northern OH, and VA, respectively. He retired from New River Valley Community Services in Blacksburg, VA in 2006, after 24 years as Executive Director.

During retirement, Lynn worked very part time as an accreditation surveyor of similar organizations in the US and Canada. He taught English as a second language for the local community college and also taught GED classes.

He was preceded in death by his father, Rev. Henry S. Chenault, and his mother, Frances Moore Chenault. Also preceding him was his sister, Mary Chenault Bomar. Surviving Lynn is his wife, Barbara Oakes Chenault; brother, Henry S. Chenault, Jr., and Genevieve Chenault, of Richmond, and brother Doug Chenault of Norfolk; son, Jim Chenault and Jenny Zhang, of San Antonio, Texas, son, Brian Chenault and Rose Chenault, of Woerden, The Netherlands, and step-daughter, Jill Bain and Larry Wilker of Roanoke; grandchildren, Evan Zhang Chenault, Tessa Lynn Chenault, and Owen James Chenault. Lynn also had several nieces and nephews. Lynn loved his family, his work, his music, and his travel adventures. He was a leader in life, both personally and professionally, leading with humility and a kind and gentle nature.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 28, 2019 at John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home, 305 Roanoke Blvd. Salem, VA 24153. In honor of Lynn’s wishes, a receiving of friends and a celebratory reception will be held immediately following the service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to New River Valley Community Services, 700 University City Blvd., Blacksburg, VA 24060.

Online condolences can be made by visiting
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Service Details

  • Celebration of Life

    John M. Oakey & Son Chapel
    305 Roanoke Boulevard
    Salem, Virginia 24153
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Jane and Wayne Bleiler

Posted at 05:26pm
Barbara, Brian, Rose and all of the family, we send our sincere condolences on the passing of Lynn. May the sweet memories sustain you all in the days ahead. Our thoughts and prayers have been with you and will remain with you during this time. We know the celebration of his life will be joyful as he meant so much to so many people. In sympathy and with much love, Jane and Wayne Bleiler

Jo Alderman

Posted at 11:09am
Barbara: So sorry to hear of Lynn's death. I hope that your memories will offer comfort in the days and weeks and years to come. He was a dear friend and I am sorry I am out of state and was unable to attend the service. Will be thinking of you. Jo Alderman

pamela andreini eschelweck

Posted at 07:50pm
I am so sorry to hear of Lynn passing. I have surveyed with this lovely man on a number of occasion. I have also met Lynn's wife who joined him on a survey I was on. She is a pleasure to be with and both included me in on their plans if I chose. I remember there was an earthquake in Virginia when Lynn and I were on a survey. He was in contact with Barbara back home and described to me what she had experienced. Lynn was dedicated to the behavior health field and was skilled in helping organizations grow and improve their services to persons in need through the CARF accreditation process. We'll miss him at CARF. My deepest sympathy to Lynn's family. Pamela Andreini-Eschelweck, CARF surveyor.

Debra Dickinson

Posted at 12:39pm
I had the pleasure of serving with Lynn on several occasions. It was so knowledgeable in the mental health field as well as with such a kind and consummate gentleman. He was such an asset to CARF and to the field in general. My condolences to his family. Deb Dickinson, Illinois

Brian Chenault

Posted at 04:53pm
[ I'm Brian Chenault, the younger of Lynn's two sons. About 5 hours after my dad passed, I posted the following on my Facebook profile: ]

“GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK”: at about 4:45 P.M. U.S. Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday, 7 September 2019, my father passed away peacefully in his home. He had fought prostate cancer for over 5 years, with phenomenal bravery and good humour. He was 78 years old.

Proud of his time as a radio broadcaster in the U.S. Army Reserve, Dad would have appreciated this famous sign-off created by reporter Edward R. Murrow on the rooftops of London during WW2 bombing.

Unbeknownst to most, Dad was also at various stages in his life a milkman, a hospital worker, a music teacher and a host of other things -- in addition to his long career as a social work administrator. As the situation called for, he could be anything from stern... to positively goofy.

In the photo he's with my son Owen during our last visit with him, slightly over half a year ago. My wife Rose, my daughter Tessa and I were on the phone with him just a few minutes before he passed. Some of his last words were telling his granddaughter Tessa that he loved her.

He loved his family, his work, his hobbies and his friends. To me he was the guy who took me backpacking and to the circus, taught me how to toss a frisbee, and helped me to build my Cub Scout Pinewood Derby car.

Back when I was in high school I started teasing him by affectionately calling him 'Old Man' (when he was younger than I am now).

Farewell, Old Man. You're my dad. I'll love you, and I'll miss you always.

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