Chester Harold Chiodo gave his family the gift of his last day on this earth for Christmas, passing peacefully on December 25. His life began 101 years ago when he was born to parents Russel and Eva Chiodo above Wong's Grocery on Cevallos street. Growing up during the depression, he treasured the summers working on his uncle Elbert's farm near Medina, Texas.
He put himself through the University of Texas, earning a degree in mechanical engineering and at times commuting to San Antonio by bicycle. While there, he and Arthur Pugh founded the Campus Guild, the first co-op at UT. He graduated just before the beginning of WWII and enlisted in the Army Air Corps, becoming a pilot. To his profound disappointment, he spent his first year of the war as a flight instructor. The next two years were at Kelly Field Flight Test, where he rose to become the chief test pilot. During this time, he flew everything in the AAF inventory, from Spitfires to B-29s. He was also was once grounded for two weeks due to excessively exuberant flying, earning him the nickname "Snap-roll Chiodo." More importantly, it was there that he met Aircraft Inspector Louise Wilmeth. They were married in the fall of '44, just before he was made commander of the 520 man 71st Depot Repair Squadron and sent to Okinawa prior to the invasion of mainland Japan. Despite having his ship attacked by a kamikaze (which, fortunately, missed) and riding out a severe typhoon, he loved the challenge and described the experience as one of the most enjoyable of his life.
After the war, he was freight manager for Slick Airways before becoming the serial entrepreneur that he would be the rest of his life. Enumerating his many businesses would remind one of the genealogy chapters in the Bible, except that each one was completely different from the last, ranging from farm equipment to business computer manufacturing. And each was built on relationships and trust. These were essential to his nature and they usually served him well.
He was preceded in death by Louise, his wife of 57 years, and survived by his loving wife of the last 16 years, Maxine Kelley. He has two sons, Roger and Tommy, daughters-in-law Laura and Dana, granddaughters Catherine and Cara, younger sister Janie Tope-Dawes and numerous nieces and nephews.
Chester Chiodo taught us the importance of family and of doing the right thing. He will be greatly missed.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Trinity Baptist Church would be appreciated. The family will receive friends from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at Porter Loring Mortuary.
FUNERAL SERVICETHURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 20201:00 PMTRINITY BAPTIST CHURCH319 E. MULBERRY
Interment will follow at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. Reception to follow graveside services at Trinity Baptist Church.
You are invited to signthe Guestbook atwww.porterloring.com