Amherst Magazine

John J. Chester III ’42

John J. Chester III ’42 died July 24, 2011.
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JOHN “JACK” CHESTER ’42

Jack Chester, our class president, died at his home in Columbus, Ohio, on July 24, 2011.

Jack was raised in Bexley, a Columbus suburb, graduating from Bexley High School at the top of his class. At Amherst he joined Psi U and was an officer of the Debating Society, Speakers Club, Political Union, Student Council, Sphinx and Scarab. He graduated cum laude in American studies.

After graduation, Jack enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was chief engineer on two destroyers and executive officer on a third, serving in the Pacific during World War II and the occupation of Korea and Japan. He was released from active duty in February 1946 with three battle stars and the rank of lieutenant, USNR.

Heading to Yale Law School, he graduated in 1948. He returned to Columbus and practiced law for 63 years in the firm known today as Chester Wilcox & Saxbe.

Jack soon began his long involvement in politics and his dedication to public service. He was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives for three terms, 1952-58, and was involved in the campaigns of numerous leading Ohio political figures. In 1974 he was special counsel to President Nixon for eight months during the Watergate crisis.

In 1959, Jack married Cynthia Johnson. In their 51-year marriage, they had three sons, John Jr., Jim ’84 and Joel; a daughter, Cecily Chester Alexander ’92; and 11 grandchildren.

In his long and distinguished legal career, Jack was known principally as a litigator, with particular expertise in family, business and real estate law. He served on the boards of many medical and educational institutions and received many prestigious awards, including the Ohio State University Distinguished Service Award in 2010. Jack taught a course in trial preparation at the OSU Moritz College of Law from 2000 to 2009.

Jack was devoted to his family, loved fast cars and enjoyed boating and relaxing at the family retreat on Lake Huron in Northern Michigan.

 

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