Ernst Chester Bone M.D.
1915 - 2017
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Ernst Chester Bone, M.D., of Jacksonville, died Wednesday evening, March 15, 2017, at his residence in Jacksonville.

He was born March 3, 1915, to Gratia Hope (Hyde) Bone and Chester David Bone in a farm home one-half mile south of Prairie City.

Dr. Bone is survived by his wife, Louise K. Bone; and three sons, Judge J. David (Patricia) Bone of Jacksonville, attorney/developer Stephen Kitts (Patricia) Bone of Huntington Beach, California, and insurance executive Timothy Robert Bone of Jacksonville, Florida; and two stepdaughters, philanthropy consultant Jenny Norris (Scott) Peterson of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Kathryn Norris (Christopher) Kirt of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; 13 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Mary Elizabeth Bone, who died in infancy; two brothers, Maurice and James; first wife Eileen Kitts Bone; close first cousin Gratia Hall Coultas; and his uncle, the Rev. John Hyde, a highly-regarded missionary known as Praying Hyde of India.

He was deeply loved and admired by family members, friends, and colleagues. Dr. Bone devoted himself to service to others, stemming from his Christian faith and his sincere love of humanity. People immediately sensed his caring and compassion, his commitment to community and his profession, and his desire to leave the world a better place. He loved to sing, to tell jokes and stories, and to bring a smile to everyone's face. Because of his warmth, wit, and flair for entertainment, he often was called upon to be an emcee. When he reached the age of 100, he was invited to read "The Night Before Christmas" at a local fundraising event for the DAR, which due to his poor eyesight yet strong mind he recited from memory with great feeling, bringing many in the audience to tears.

Dr. Bone received his primary and secondary education in the Prairie City School System. He graduated from Illinois College in 1936 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Dr. Bone taught chemistry and physics at Petersburg Harris High School for two years and then returned to Jacksonville as director of admissions at Illinois College. During that time, he earned his Master of Arts for Education from the University of Illinois.

A former professor remarked to him that with his education in the sciences, he would be much better suited as a doctor than as an admissions director, so in 1942 he enrolled in medical school. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Medicine degree in 1944 and his M.D. degree in 1946 from the University of Illinois School of Medicine while serving as a volunteer in the United States Navy V12 Program during World War II. He later served as a naval physician during the Korean Conflict while stationed in Bermuda.

He completed post-graduate training at the Illinois Research and Education Hospital, connected with the University of Illinois. He returned to Jacksonville and established his practice of clinical medicine and surgery on West State Street. In 1955, Dr. Bone and his colleague, Dr. Harvey Scott, opened the Bone-Scott Clinic on West State Street where no one was ever turned away and many appreciated receiving house calls. He also served for many years as medical director of Barton-Stone Nursing Home. In his spare time, he delivered over 4,500 babies.

Dr. Bone retired from clinical practice in 1989 but went on to serve over 25 years as a medical consultant for the State of Illinois Bureau of Disability Determination Services. He worked part-time until the age of 100. In addition, he served as medical consultant for the Illinois Department of Public Aid and as associate clinical professor for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

Dr. Bone was among a group of family physicians who founded the American Board of Family Practice (ABFP). He served as an officer for the ABFP's national board and represented family medicine on the American Board of Medical Specialties. Multiple times he was president of the Morgan-Scott Medical Society, and was a member of the Illinois Medical Society, and the Illinois and American Academy of Physicians. He served as president of the Illinois State Academy of Family Practice and the American Academy of Family Practice. Good Housekeeping named him one of the nation's top 10 physicians. He received the Illinois State Family Practitioner of the Year Award and was recognized in the National Top Five Family Practitioners of the Year in 1980.

Throughout his life, Dr. Bone was passionate about education. He served for nine years on the Jacksonville School District 117 Board of Directors and for over 25 years on the MacMurray College Board of Trustees. He served as president of the Illinois College Alumni Association and for 10 years as alumni representative on the Illinois College Board of Trustees. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Illinois College in 1989 and an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from MacMurray College in 1990. As team physician, Dr. Bone was elected to the Illinois College and MacMurray College athletic halls of fame.

Dr. Bone had a lifelong interest in farming and was a lifetime member of the American Angus Association. As a young man he was involved in 4H and in 1968 was named Illinois State 4H Alumnus of the Year. Dr. Bone received the Paul Harris Fellow Award from Rotary Club. He was also named Jacksonville's Citizen of the Year and was inducted into the City of Jacksonville Hall of Fame.

He served multiple terms as an elder of State Street Presbyterian and First Presbyterian Churches in Jacksonville, and was a member of The Literary Union men's literary society. He enjoyed the theatre and performed for decades in the Passavant Hospital Follies, and several Ken Bradbury productions, including "The Shadow of Giants." Dr. Bone served as president of the Salvation Army board of directors and, along with Mrs. Louise Bone, was co-chair of the Prairieland United Way campaign.

The Golden Rule was central to his life, and his devotion to others brought him fulfillment and joy.

A funeral service will be held 10:30 a.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville. The family will meet friends from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Williamson Funeral Home. Private interment will be in Diamond Grove Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Illinois College, MacMurray College, First Presbyterian Church, or Passavant Area Hospital. Condolences may be left online at

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Published in Jacksonville Journal-Courier on Mar. 17, 2017.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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20 entries
March 10, 2020
He was a great Doctor, and a valued friend of our family. He delivered 2 of our 4 children and we still think of him often.
Mike Perrine
August 12, 2017
He was the best. I knew his all of my life in Illinois. he was the only doctor who saw me at our home in grade school for the Flu. When I moved to Arizona in 1960 and became an architect I discovered he was well regarded in the medical community there as well. He spoke at the graduation of the first family practice residents class at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital in about 1990. I was serving the hospital as their architect in upgrading the old facility they had purchased. I was setting in Dr. Art Nelson's office, the administrator of the hospital when his secretary came in said Dr. Bone just confirmed he could speak at the graduation. My jaw hit the floor, it couldn't be the same guy. Dr. Nelson saw my expression and asked if I knew him. I have known him my whole life I said. We talked for an hour about him and his special qualities. While he was here he graciously took time to come to our house and meet the family again after those many years, Especially my mother Edith Hoagland who graduated from Mac Murray College 1933 with a degree in nursing and worked with him for many years at the hospital. We love him and will miss him always.
George C. Hoagland
March 27, 2017
Dear Louise and the Bone Family,

Dr. Bone was one of the finest individuals, in every regard, to ever call Jacksonville their home. His wisdom and love made everything he touched better. He loved athletics and would appreciate Bobby Richardson, the former Yankee second baseman's quote. "Dear Lord, your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen

Howard Curtis
March 25, 2017
Condolences to the family of Doctor Bone.I remember him with fond memories . When I was a small child going with my grandmother Bertha Delaney to appointment,remember Doctor Bone, very tall,bald and always with a smile .He was a caring ,wonderful physician,he will be sorely missed. Roena Delaney Henne ...Jacksonville. IL.
Roena Henne
March 21, 2017
I was one of those 4,500 babies he delivered ,in 1962! He was a kind and gentle Dr. I remember his kind smile and his clinic after all these years. My deepest sympathy to the entire family, what a wonderful life he had....
Bonny Brogdon Moran
March 21, 2017
Always a gentleman... that's how I'll remember him
Rest in Peace Dr. Bone. You'll be missed by so many.

Teresa Parth - (co-worker at BDDS, retired)
Teresa Parth
March 20, 2017
I first met Dr. Bone when he was our college doctor during my years at Mac during the 60's. Little did I know that I would have the opportunity to know him better when we both served on the MacMurray Board of Trustees. I respected and valued his opinion and leadership on the board, and his wisdom and calm, steady hand in many discussions was a true gift to the college as well as us as individuals.

We will all miss that wisdom and deep caring for humanity, as well as his wit, but I consider myself so fortunate to have known and been influenced by him for many years.
Pat Doyle-Grace
March 20, 2017
I sat next to Dr. Bone years ago at a dinner at the Jacksonville county club. At the end of the meal he folded his cloth napkin very carefully and said his mother had told him that If you fold your napkin carefully, you will be invited back to dinner. Wonderful kind, gentlemen.
Don Cates
March 19, 2017
Dr. Bone had a brilliant medical mind, a deep love for humanity and a most gentle demeanor. He was our family doctor until his retirement from private practice.

I shall always remember when he hospitalized me with a lower back issue but gave me a temporary discharge pass and arranged for a driver to take me to The Bowl to coach a Saturday night tournament championship game. He suggested that I should not allow the game to go overtime since the driver had instructions to get me back to the hospital by 11:00pm.

A Prince of a guy!
Mel & Gerry Roustio
March 18, 2017
Dr. Bone delivered me and named me on February 11,1952, at Our Saviors Hospital in Jacksonville. My mom had a name picked out if I was a girl...Cora Belle (yikes). Dr. Bone asked her what my name would be. When she told him he laughed and said oh no! He said you know I had an old girlfriend once whom I was very fond of. Her name was Nancy Lee. Why don't you name this beautiful little girl Nancy Lee. And she did! I hope you find comfort in this little story. My mom loved Dr. Bone dearly.

I send my deepest sympathy to your family. May Dr. Bone be wrapped in angels wings and delivered to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Nancy Lee McDaniel-Walton
March 18, 2017
As a student at MacMurray College in the mid-60's I got to know Dr. Bone and his first wife Eileen when I attended the Presbyterian Church. They would often come by the dorm to pick me up to take me to church. Later I served with Dr. Bone of the Mac Board of Trustees and also served with his wife Louise. A great human being and one whom I'm pleased to have known in my life - a positive influence. Our heartfelt sympathies to Dr. Bone's family.
Timothy & Sara Campbell
March 18, 2017
Dr Bone's contributions to medicine and his community were far greater than any words can express. Dignity, fairness to all and exactitude in his work were exceptional characteristics as guided by the Golden Rule. We were TRULY blessed to have known him and to have him in our midst.
Ron Johnson
March 18, 2017
Dr. Bone is one of my most cherished colleagues. I learned a great deal from him as most did. There is now a great empty space in the world.
Cary Andras, M.D.
March 18, 2017
Dr. Bone was one of the finest people we've ever known. He delivered two of our 4 children, took good care of our family for several years and was a fantastic person and Dr. Our condolences to his family and want them to know he will always be remembered by the Perrine family.

Mike & Betty Perrine-Troy, IL
March 17, 2017
My heartfelt condolences go to the Bone family. Dr Bone was my physician as a child and early adulthood. He made house calls when I was a little girl and very sick. He was so kind and gentle. I had the pleasure of attending my school years with his wonderful son Timothy who was also a kind soul. My payers to the Bone family.
Kathy Cruse-Tiger
March 17, 2017
Dr. Bone was a kind, engaging, elegant man and a wonderful physician. He had the unique ability to make you feel like you were the most important person. He was witty and had a marvelous singing voice. As one of the founders of the American Board of Family Medicine, his legacy continues on a national level. All of us at the ABFM and the Pisacano Foundation will miss him. Prayers to the family.
Robert Cattoi
March 17, 2017
Rest in peace, and god bless your loving family. Dr. Bone was my mother's doctor as well as the family doctor and was the best doc around. We will miss a great man, great doctor, great father, great friend and surely a great spouse. Bless you all.
Margaret Wilson-Kennedy
March 17, 2017
To the Bone family:
On behalf of the board of directors of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, past presidents and staff, please accept our condolences on the heaven-going of Dr. Chet Bone. He was a past president of Illinois AFP. I remember him fondly from his work on disability determination services. He told the best stories and jokes! I was able to attend one of his 100th birthday parties where he regaled us with song, tales and cheer. We will miss him greatly but heaven is likely gathering around him to hear him tell those stories, sing those songs and chuckle as he tells jokes. May you be blessed with sweet memories through the tears.
Vincent Keenan
March 17, 2017
I saw Dr Bone recently and thanked him for being such a great doctor for my family and me. He smiled and said ," I had a great partner!" He then told me his main goal was to see his next birthday, God willing, which he did!
Happy belated birthday, Dr Bone. Thank you for giving us the gift of your kindness and humanity!
Rhinda Fairless
March 17, 2017
Dr. Bone and the Bone family are always in my thoughts. One memory was after I had cut my thumb and had to have surgery with a great number of stitches, Tim and I would walk to school in the morning and Dr. Bone would make show him that I could move my thumb. David and family where great neighbors when we lived on Grove.

Dr. Bone will be sorely missed and his legacy will live on for ever.

Susan and my prayers are with you on your loss.

Eric & Susan Davis
Topeka, KS
Eric Davis
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