Family, friends, colleagues and countless admirers are mourning the death of
Yvette Chargois, a community icon, longtime City of Houston administrator,
dedicated Street Olympics chair and former Defender People Editor. She died Nov.
10 at age 81.
Services will be held Friday, Nov. 17, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 3006 Rosedale.
The rosary is at 9:30 a.m, visitation and remarks at 10 a.m. The funeral mass at 11
a.m. followed by a private burial.
Career of Distinction
Affectionately known as “Ms. Chag” or “Chag” by many Houstonians and “Mimi” by
her grandchildren, she is also remembered as a loving mother and grandmother, a
caring volunteer who impacted countless lives and a proud native of Fifth Ward.
She served as community outreach director for the City for over 27 years, the last
12 of which were spent as a member of the Houston Police Department command
staff. She served under numerous chiefs of police, including Lee P. Brown, Elizabeth
Watson, Sam Nuchia and Clarence Bradford. She was the only civilian on the
She received accolades for service from multiple mayors, including Kathy Whitmire,
Bob Lanier and Lee P. Brown. In 1990 she was recognized as Public Administrator
of the Year, for which she garnered a commendation from Congressman Craig
Washington. Gov. Rick Perry recognized her outstanding service as a National
Woman of Achievement and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee applauded her
commitment to community service.
She was a founding member of the Houston chapter of the National Forum for Black
Public Administrators (NFBPA) and a chapter president. Her commitment to
community service extended to various organizations, including as chair of the
Harris County Precinct One Street Olympics for over 30 years, and a supporter of
Hester House, Friends of MHMRA, Hope Through Grace, Inc., and the Martin Luther
King Community Center. She was a member of LaFleur De Lis, a social club started
by family and friends of the Creole culture.
She was the Defender People Editor for nearly 25 years and covered local events in
her weekly column known as “Chag’s Place” until 2013. If there was a social or
community event to be covered, she was there. Each week, she bid readers
farewell with her distinctive sign-off, “Ciao Darling.”
Her sense of style earned her a place on the Houston Chronicle’s Best Dressed list.
A wall of fame in her home office showcased her alongside esteemed political
leaders and celebrities.
Catherine Yvette Chargois was born in Houston in 1942 to Daniel and Catherine
Guerra. She was the eldest of five sisters. Her early education at Our Mother of
Mercy Catholic School paved the way for her graduation from Phillis Wheatley High
She further pursued studies at Texas Southern University before embarking on a
career as a businesswoman who owned three gas stations and real estate
investments and later in her illustrious career in public administration.
Survivors include her sister. Danielle Guerra; children, Dana, John, Lisa and Chris;
daughter-in-law, Veronica; grandchildren, Yvette (Byron, London and Canon),
Ashley (Allen), Blaire (Jamarcus), Brittney (Jeremy), Chazton (Denise), Christian
and Cayden; as well as 11 great-grandchildren, Haleigh, Jayden, Hannah, Jacques,
Bryce, Jo-Leigh, Garmar II, Alek, Arik, Joshua and Landon, and awaiting two more
in the spring of 2024.
Vanessa Gilmore, Former federal judge and friend
“Yvette was a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, businesswoman and
community advocate, but to me she was a friend. I admired her kindness,
compassion and true concern for others. I also liked the fact that she was a fun
traveling companion, trusted confidant and a really fun person to hang out with.
She lived her life to the fullest and everyone who was blessed to be in her inner
circle became an accidental beneficiary of her glow. I will miss my friend.”
Sharon Owens, Former Corporate Executive and friend
“On November 10th, this city lost a great community leader and several of us lost a
dear friend who was like a sister and soulmate,” she said. “The beautiful Yvette
Chargois…was called home to be with the Master. She has been my friend and
sister for over 40 years and she is and will always be truly missed.”
Richard Exley wrote:
” A true friend prods you to personal growth, stretches you to your full potential
And most amazing of all, celebrates your successes as if they were her own”
This was Yvette Chargois to many.
I love you Chag and put in a good word for us in Heaven.
J. Kent Friedman, Attorney and Street Olympic colleague
“Yvette Chargois was a loving, caring human being who spent her life creating
opportunities for others. Among her many community involvements, she was the
chairman of the board of the Harris County Precinct One Street Olympics for over
20 years. In that capacity, she impacted over 50,000 inner-city kids by overseeing
the summer activities of that organization, keeping kids positively involved in
healthy activities. Yvette was one of those rare individuals who truly made a
difference in the world. It was an honor and a privilege for me to work with her on
the [board] for many years. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.”
Sonny Messiah Jiles, Former colleague and friend
“Ms. Chag was down-to-earth and never met a stranger. Her tireless commitment to
covering local events was invaluable and demonstrated her dedication to sharing
the best the community had to offer. Most of all she was a champion for her family
from her siblings to her children, grandchildren and even great-grands. Although she had not been an active member of the Defender team for some time, her contributions will forever be recorded within the pages of the Defender.”