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Cheston Vaux "Chet" Mottershead, Junior, passed away on September 26, 2013 at his home in Rocky Mount, NC. He was born on November 9, 1936, to the late Cheston V. Mottershead, Senior, and Caroline Wichterman Mottershead. He was preceded in death by his brother, John Mottershead.
Chet's father retired from the US Marine Corps and Chet spent his early years living in Philadelphia, PA, and Camp Lejeune, NC. He graduated from Lejeune High School. Chet attended Duke University, where he was a member of the Duke Glee Club. Being a member of the Duke Glee Club and singing in the Chapel Choir instilled a love of music. As President of the Glee Club he learned about people, leadership and cooperation.
After graduating from Duke University in 1959 with a degree in chemistry, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps through the Navy ROTC program. After Basic School in Quantico, VA, he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Initially, he was Platoon Commander of the construction platoon responsible for building and repairing Quonset huts on the base; he later transferred within the battalion to become Training Officer of the engineering battalion. In May of 1961, he and his commanding officer went to inspect the artillery missile sites at the south end of the island. On the way back to the base the Army helicopter they were traveling in crashed.
Chet was sent to the Philadelphia Naval Hospital, where he recovered from the injuries sustained in the helicopter crash with the help of the medical staff, his family, and his friends. He began dating Rochelle "Riki" Dahl, a Navy nurse and in 1964 they wed in her hometown of Mabel, MN. The couple lived in Champaign, IL until Chet received his graduate degree in history from the University of Illinois in 1967. They then moved to Rocky Mount, NC where Chet was a history professor at NC Wesleyan College for five years.
Chet's personal and professional mission was to dismantle the architectural, transportation, employment and attitudinal barriers faced by disabled people. In 1974, he took a position at Tri-County Industries (TCI), a work-oriented rehabilitation center; in 1976 he was appointed President. Chet's advocacy at the local and national level was instrumental in improving the lives of disabled and disadvantaged people. In 1977, he was elected President of the NC Rehabilitation Association. From 1980-1983, he was Chair of the NC Task Force for the International Year of Disabled Persons, which provided impetus for the passage of the groundbreaking Americans with Disabilities Act legislation. In 1992 Gov. Jim Martin appointed him Executive Director of the Governor's Advocacy Council for Persons with Disabilities, and then by Gov. Jim Hunt a year later. Chet was an active board member of the NC Center for Non-Profits.
In addition to these accomplishments, Chet also earned a Certificate from the Executive Program at UNC-CH and was granted an Honorary Doctorate of Law from NC Wesleyan College. He was a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Gov. Jim Hunt. Long active in Democratic politics, he was a state delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1984.
Chet began attending the Episcopal Church as a youth, and was an active member of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rocky Mount for over 40 years. Chet's passions there were the choir and the outreach program. He was Senior Warden three times, facilitated the addition of a new wing to the church, and helped establish a soup kitchen and shelter to serve homeless people. The Bishop appointed him Chair of the Christian Social Ministries of the Diocese. After his retirement from TCI, Chet helped found the Tar River Mission Clinic, which provides free medical services for those in need.
Chet's family loved him as he loved them. He was proud of them. He provided a shining example of integrity. His encouragement, patience and counsel were constant. He is survived by his wife, Rochelle "Riki", and their four children: Cheston and his wife Lynda, Pearce, Brenna Bennett and husband Rick, and Cara. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Emily Bennett, and Alexandra, Sidney, Adam, and Kennan Mottershead, and by his mother-in-law, Edna Brenna Dahl.
Services will be held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rocky Mount, NC on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 2:00 pm. A reception will follow the service in the church parish hall.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Outreach Commission of the Church of the Good Shepherd, 231 N Church St. Rocky Mount, 27804, TCI, 1250 Atlantic Ave, Rocky Mount, 27801, or Friends of Hospice, Nash General Hospital, 2460 Curtis Ellis Dr., Rocky Mount, 27804.
Arrangements entrusted to Wheeler and Woodlief Funeral Home, 1130 N. Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount NC 27804. You may share memories and condolences with the family by visiting http://www.wheelerwoodlief.com/.
Published in Rocky Mount Telegram from Sept. 28 to Sept. 29, 2013