Chester Eugene Kean
1925 - 2020
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Chester Eugene Kean
October 16, 1925 - July 26, 2020
Resident of Lafayette, CA
Chester (Chet) Eugene Kean passed peacefully at home on Sunday, July 26 at the age of 94. He leaves his loving wife of 48 years, Betty Graden Kean, and their family of six children and spouses, eleven grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.
Chet was born October 16, 1925 in Chicago where he was raised with his brother Hank and sister Irene.
He had a natural curiosity and a life-long passion for learning. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1948, a Master's in Biochemistry from Oregon State University in 1950, and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of California Davis in 1953. After considering teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Chet instead chose to work at C&H Sugar in Crockett, California. Eventually he became their head chemist, retiring after a 32-year career. At C&H, Chet lectured, wrote numerous technical papers, and contributed to books related to sugars, fruits, and food processes. After retirement he continued to take interest in many topics and loved to sit one-on-one and learn all about the passions and interests of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Chet also served his country. Halfway through his undergraduate studies he enlisted in the army. He was stationed at Camp Berkley, and later trained in the army lab tech school in Indianapolis, ultimately serving as a medic and on medical testing. During his service years, the family name was changed from Kliszczewski to Kean, and after his discharge Chet resumed his studies.
He met Barbara Maxwell at the University of Illinois. They were married in California and had four children: John (Jac), Carol, Jeffry, and James. In 1970, Chet lost his wife Barbara and youngest son James in an auto collision. For two years he led the family as a single father.
In 1972, Chet married Betty Lou Graden. She had three children of her own: Janice, Richard, and Jeffery, from a previous marriage. Betty and Chet blended the two families and always kept "family" in the forefront as the most important thing in life. They enjoyed 48 years together in Lafayette, California, where Betty still resides.
Chet and Betty loved to hike and travel and together they saw the world. Chet also played softball until he was 81, pitching from behind a screen. He was an avid stamp collector and a remarkable stock market investor. He was a great provider for his extended family and loved by all.
He leaves behind an indelible legacy of love and devotion to family.


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Published in East Bay Times on Aug. 8, 2020.
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