John B. Chickering

John B. Chickering was born in Washington, D.C. in 1924, and died in Tucson, Arizona, in 2012. He attended elementary public schools in Manila, the Philippines, and after graduation at age 16 from Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., he invested his Washington Post newspaper route earnings in a five-day, five-night non-stop vintage bus trip from Washington, D.C., to Arizona where he went to work as a hired hand on the 2,000-acre Elston working ranch near Salome, Arizona. On July 1, 1942, Chickering entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating therefrom on June 5, 1945, at age 20, (he and his peers disappointed at missing WWII which ended sixty days later). Chickering flew several different types of contemporary fighter aircraft, in the U.S. and while occupying Japan and Korea for two and a half years, (e.g. P-40, P-38, P-51, F-80, F-84) following which the Air Force sent Chickering to Purdue University where he earned a masters degree before being transferred to the Air Force Flight Test Division (FTD) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio; (he was retained there against his formal request in 1952 for transfer to combat duty in Korea, denied by his then FTD boss, Col., later Maj. Gen., Hugh Manson). From 1954 to 1958 Chickering served as a member of the faculty with the Air Force Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, lecturing there and at Air Force installations throughout Europe, on Air Force missiles and manned aircraft under development; and thereafter a year on the Atlas Missile Program at Convair Astronautics in San Diego, CA, and Cape Canaveral, Florida. He was then assigned for his final six years of Air Force service, 1959-1965, to Washington, D.C., in the administration and direction of Air Force research and development programs and as Executive Officer with the Air Force Office of Manned Space Flight in NASA Headquarters, during which time Chickering completed the Air War College and Industrial College of the Armed Forces correspondence courses and attended night law school. Chickering retired from the Air Force in 1965 to graduate from the George Washington University College of Law in 1966 (J.D. Degree) and practice law, for one year in Virginia and two years with the Washington law firm of Browne, Schuyler & Beveridge. In 1969 Chickering accepted a National Defense Act Fellowship transferring him to the University of Arizona where he taught and completed the Ph.D. Degree. Chickering then served for ten years as an Administrative Law Judge with the state of Arizona (1975-85). He sustained a permanently damaging heart attack in 1984, and a stroke in 2006, presaging his ultimate "congestive heart failure" and death. He was a member of various professional engineering and legal organizations, including the engineering honor society at Purdue University, and the State Bars of Virginia, the District of Columbia, Arizona and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is biographed in Who's Who in American Law and other Who's Who publications. In 2007 Chickering's beloved "strength and redeemer, idol, hero, wife and best friend" Lola Souder Chickering preceded him in death, following their blessed four+ decades together in world travel and an ideal and idyllic home life. Now together for always, Chickering is being interred in the same grave in Arlington National Cemetery with his beloved Lola. Chickering is survived by his son, John B. Chickering, Jr. of Los Angeles, CA. Their Arizona roots date back to the mid-1800's, Chickering's great-grandfather, Joseph Alton Sladen (JAS) having lost a leg and received the Congressional Medal of Honor in the Civil War, and having become a hostage of Apache Chief Cochise (ca. 1870) in the Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains east of Benson and Willcox, AZ, [his (JAS) diary is on file with the Arizona Historical Society Library in Tucson, AZ, and the Army Library at Carlisle Barracks, PA], following which JAS earned his M.D. Degree, practiced medicine, and was ultimately interred in the West Point Cemetery while his son, Gen. Fred Winchester Sladen (DSC, DSM) was the Superintendent there. JAS's other son, Frank J. Sladen, M.D., graduated from Johns Hopkins at an early age and was called by Henry Ford to build and become Physician-in-Chief of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI, in which capacity Dr. Sladen remained for many years. JAS's daughter was Chickering's beloved grandmother "Amu."


Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Apr. 15, 2012