In Memoriam

Louis Montez Chester

March 12, 1926 – May 7, 2021

Louis (Lou) Montez Chester, 95, former resident of Big Canoe, died May 7 in his sleep with his wife, Mary Jane, by his side. When living in Big Canoe, Chester was the oldest WWII veteran in the North Georgia Veterans.

Lou Chester

Lou is pictured [center] above with University of North Georgia ROTC staff and cadets attending our 2018 Banquet. Lou is a WWII Army Veteran and long-time member of the North Georgia Vets. Photo courtesy of North Georgia Vets. 

A native of McKeesport, Pa., he was the son of Louis Frederick and Letah MacBrier Chester. When the family moved to Corning, NY where Chester was enrolled in high school, he decided schooling was no longer for him. He walked out and applied for work at the Corning Glass Works, unbeknownst to his parents, where he was immediately hired as a lab assistant. 

He began his working career by getting up early in the mornings and reporting to work rather than high school. Upon receiving a call from the school principal who assumed Chester was truant, his father threatened to take him down to the coal mine to work. 

Hearing this threat, Chester told his father, “No thanks. I already have a good job.” He was making nearly as much as his father with his Corning Glass Works job.

In 1943, Chester enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps where he trained to pilot the North American B-25 Mitchell, a twin-engine light bomber. He was honorably discharged in 1945 after the end of the Second World War. He finished his high school education, then attended The University of Rochester.

In 1950, Chester met Margaret Bennie Cullen of Massillon, OH at a boarding house reunion in Rochester, NY. They married March 31, 1951 and raised a daughter and two sons in Atlanta. In Atlanta Chester worked for Stallings, Inc. for over 20 years, serving as company president from 1978 until 1981. He ultimately retired from his own sales and consulting firm, Chester Technical Sales, and relocated permanently to Big Canoe.

 Margaret Chester passed away October 11, 1998. In 1999 Chester met Big Canoe resident Mary Jane Twells at a “singles” gathering, and they were married March 26, 2000.

His favorite hobbies included woodworking, singing, (he and wife Margaret sang in the Atlanta Choral Guild, as well as the choirs of Clairmont Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and Big Canoe Chapel), sailing and the outdoors. He had a quick wit and a great sense of humor. He was a dedicated father, grandfather, husband and friend who lived a long and rewarding life.

Louis Montez Chester was preceded in death by his parents, sister Margaret, and his son Louis Scott Chester. He is survived by his second wife Mary Jane Chester, daughter Meg Calhoun, son Mark, grandchildren Ian Calhoun, Cassidy Chester and Ethan Chester, and great-granddaughters Riley and Parker Calhoun. 

The family will hold a graveside memorial in the coming days and request in lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), North Georgia Veterans, or Paralyzed Veterans of America.

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