Tim Sauer, a 40 South News reader, shared a photo of a table he made incorporating the sign for the old Chaney Elementary School in Richmond Heights. His stepdad’s grandfather was William Chaney, who was given the plaque, which had stood outside Chaney School from 1971 to 2002.
Sauer’s stepdad, Randy Seagrist, sent the whole story:
I’m sending this to you in regards to an email my stepson Tim Sauer sent to you. He made a wonderful table incorporating the sign for the former Chaney Elementary School in Richmond Heights, part of the MRH School District. It sat on the site of the present MRH Elementary School at Glades and Princeton.
My grandfather, Orville “Jack” Chaney, began teaching math at MRH Junior High School in 1937, after 12 years of teaching and coaching in Campbell and Cardwell, MO. He became principal of East Richmond Elementary School in 1941 and was principal there for thirty years.
When he retired in 1971, the school was renamed Chaney Elementary School. OJ Chaney went on to found the Department of Education at Missouri Baptist College, where he taught until 1987. All told, my grandfather spent 62 years as an educator! He passed away in 1989.
The East Richmond/Chaney Elementary School building itself went back at least to the nineteen-teens. In 1954 a new building was constructed around the old one. This building had a new (ca 1954) outer west-facing front and an older (ca pre-1920) inner east-facing back. This building stood until 2002 when it was demolished to make way for the new MRH Elementary School, which was dedicated on March 20, 2004.
At that time a plaque reading “Chaney Commons” was installed in the cafeteria. My family and I were present at the ceremony and we were given the bronze plaque which had stood outside Chaney School from 1971 to 2002. This plaque is the one that Tim incorporated into the table.
My grandfather, OJ Chaney and his wife, Gladys Fitzgerald Chaney, lived in Maplewood and Richmond Heights from 1937 until 1988. My grandmother was also a teacher, retiring from the Brentwood School District in 1971. My mother, Patricia Chaney Seagrist, attended MRH schools for grades K through 12, graduating in 1951. She later taught at MRH Junior and Senior High Schools from 1973 to 1993.
I myself lived in Richmond Heights with my mother and grandparents from 1953 until 1960, when my mom remarried and we moved to Brentwood. I attended MRH schools for K through 2nd grade and Brentwood schools for 3rd through 12th, graduating from Brentwood High School in 1971. I recently retired from teaching in the Rockwood School District.
I’m sure this is far more information than you want or need but I wanted to give you as much background as I could. Thank you for your interest.