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John Jonas Chester

CHESTER John Jonas "Jack" Chester, 91, of Upper Arlington, passed away Sunday, July 24, 2011, at his home. He was born on July 13, 1920 to the late John Jonas and Harriet Bonnadine Rice Chester of Bexley. A graduate of Bexley High School, Amherst College and Yale School of Law, Jack was a third-generation lawyer, who practiced for 65 years in the law firm known today as Chester Willcox & Saxbe, LLP, that was started by his grandfather, John J. Chester, in 1884. Often referred to as "the lawyer's lawyer," his legal expertise was sought in matters of family law, business litigation and commercial real estate development. Jack was an adjunct professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law from 2000- 2009 teaching classes on trial preparation. His remarkable career was defined by his commitment to the law, politics and public service. Enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1942, Jack served as a Lieutenant in destroyers for four years during World War II, earning three Battle Stars. In 1952, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives where his three terms of office spanned six years. In 1974, he was appointed Special Counsel to the President of the United States Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Jack served as an elector for the state of Ohio in the 1988 and 2000 Electoral Colleges. Dedicated to community service, Jack served on the boards of Riverside Methodist Hospital, Doctors Hospital, U.S. Health and OhioHealth, frequently in the role of Chairman, for more than 25 years starting in 1984. He also served on the boards of Shepherd Hill Hospital, American Heart Association of Franklin County, the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus Academy, and Columbus School for Girls. He was a director of the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Naval War College Foundation and the U.S. Naval Institute. In 2002, Jack established the Chester Professionalism Institute at the Columbus Bar Foundation. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Capital University in 1995, the Columbus Bar Association's Professionalism Award in 2000, the Ohio State Bar Foundation Honorary Life Fellowship Award in 2006, The Ohio State University's Distinguished Service Award in 2010, and the 2011 Scout Law Leadership Award from the Boy Scouts of America Simon Kenton Council. A fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, Jack also earned recognition as one of the Best Lawyers in America and an Ohio Super Lawyer. Jack valued time spent with family, loved fast cars, and enjoyed relaxing at the family retreat on Lake Huron in Northern Michigan. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Cynthia Johnson Chester, whom he married on April 18, 1959, his brother Ray Rice Chester and his sisters Barbara Chester Harkrader, Harriet Chester, and Anne Chester Ashby. Survivors include children, John J. (Judy) Chester, James J. (Karen) Chester, Joel J. Chester, and Cecily (Brett) Chester Alexander; grandchildren, Kara, Abigail, Julia, Jack, Elizabeth, Jay, Brooke, Anna, Cynthia, Sarah, and Graham. Friends may call Friday, July 29 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at SCHOEDINGER NORTHWEST CHAPEL, 1740 Zollinger Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43221, and following the service on Saturday. Funeral service will be held Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 10 a.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2151 Dorset Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43221, where the family will receive friends following the service. Pastor Paul St. Germain officiating. Interment will be private at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution in Jack's honor to St. Mark's Episcopal Church, the Ohio Historical Society, 1982 Velma Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43211 or the OhioHealth Foundation, 180 East Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215. Visit www.Schoedinger.com to share a special memory of Jack.
Published in The Columbus Dispatch from July 26 to July 27, 2011
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