Chester B. "Chet" Schendel (1919 - 2011)

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  • "We just learned of this tremendous loss. Chet was a real..."
    - Dan/Martha Northway
  • "Chet was one of the best teachers I ever had and he and..."
  • - Lauri (Ronning) Hamm
  • "I'm so sorry to hear about Chet. I will always remember him..."
    - Nancy Cope
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Aug. 17, 1919 - July 21, 2011

Chester Schendel of Three Forks passed away July 21, 2011, at Mountain View Care Center in Bozeman.

Chester was born on a farm near Tonasket, Wash., to Stella Bower Schendel and Albert R Schendel. The family then moved to a farm near Ennis. Chester graduated from high school in Ennis. He was the third generation of his family to live in the Madison Valley.

Chet attended The University of Montana in Missoula where he joined the ROTC program. He earned money to pay for college by operating a trap line during the winter in the Madison Valley. He was a gifted athlete in high school and college and remained involved in sports his entire life. He often attended any sport event that involved Three Forks.

He served with the Army in France, Germany, Belgium and Holland during World War II with the 85th Ordinance Division, ending his service as a captain. After the war he returned to Montana and could not see a reason to travel anywhere else.

On Sept. 14, 1947, in Missoula, Chester married a young war widow, Kathleen Knapp Robertson "Kitty." Kitty's son, Jim Robertson, was a cherished part of the package deal. Chet and Kitty were married for 63 years. The new family moved to Valier, where Chet taught and coached in the school from 1947 through 1949. Their son, Joe, was born in August 1949 in Missoula.

Kitty and Chet then moved to Bozeman where Chet completed his first master's degree at MSU. In 1950 they moved to Three Forks. Bruce was born in June 1954. Chet later received a second master's degree in school administration. He taught and coached in Three Forks until he retired in the early 1980s. He loved being the principal of the elementary school.

Chet also loved hunting and fishing and the fellowship that came with numerous hunting and fishing partners. His vehicle choices often added to the unexpected drama that comes with hunting and fishing. He was an excellent marksman and his competitive athletic nature made for a memorable day outside in Montana.

He loved to read and enjoyed anything related to Montana history. His sister-in-law remembers him as a gentleman all his life long.

He was preceded in death by three sisters and two brothers, as well as his parents and his wife, Kitty.

He is survived by his sons, Jim Robertson (Mary), Joe Schendel (Paula), Bruce Schendel (Janice); sister-in-law, Joy Schendel; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and many friends.

A memorial service for Chester will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 25, at Three Forks Methodist Church, followed by a reception in the church annex.

Memorials may be given in his name to the Three Forks Library, or to the charity of your choice.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on July 23, 2011
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