Chester Gantenbein Henderson, 95, passed away at the Memorial Hospital Cottage in the Meadow October 5, 2012.
Chester was born in Seattle, WA, May 31, 1917 to Joseph and Ella Henderson. The family moved shortly thereafter to Walla Walla, WA where he attended public schools and graduated from Walla Walla High School. After a year at the University of Washington where he was in the marching band, Chester transferred to Whitman College. At Whitman, he became a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and in 1939, graduated with a degree in history. It was at Whitman he met his future wife, Irma Grace Kester. They were married on August 9, 1942, at the First Presbyterian Church in Yakima, WA.
After college, Chester was hired by the Moxee School District to teach at Moxee High School. He always said he got the job because he was willing to teach band. He was employed by the school district as a teacher and audio visual coordinator for over 40 years. Former students remember him as a stern, no-nonsense teacher who liked to lecture on good behavior. He was also advisor for the student bookstore and was always available to assist at student dances by making sure the juke box worked and that decorations were put up and taken down.
Chester was dedicated to community service in Terrace Heights where he and Irma Grace resided for over 60 years. He was a founding member of the Terrace Heights volunteer fire department in 1947 and eventually served as Chief. For decades, he served as Treasurer of the Country Club District Water Company that provided domestic water for Terrace Heights residents. He was also instrumental in developing the Terrace Heights Civic Center and Library and he served on the Board of the Yakima Valley Regional Library. Chester and Irma Grace were ardent supporters of the Community Concert Series and the Capitol Theatre.
Chester sang for many years with the men's choral group, the Camerata Club and was a xx-year member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He enjoyed travel, especially to the Hawaiian Islands, and liked to putter in his yard where he grew raspberries and other fruits. He loved to tell stories of his family history and his childhood in Walla Walla.
Chester was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Irma Grace Kester Henderson and his sister Abby Kidwell. He is survived by son, Earl Henderson; daughter Marilyn Henderson and her spouse Michael Mix; grandson, Justin Henderson and spouse Bethany; granddaughters, Leslie Mix and Laura Hoopis; granddaughters, Desiree Mix and Danica Kohut; nephews Thomas Kidwell and Henry Kidwell; nephew, Stanley Carlton Rall, Jr. and niece, Melinda Wahl.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Chester G. Henderson and Irma Grace Henderson Scholarship fund at Whitman College or a charity of their choice. The family would like to thank Memorial Hospice for their assistance and unfailing kindness as well as caregivers Carol Carnahan and others from ResCare for their loving care.
Visitation will be from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday October 9, 2012 at Keith & Keith Ninth Avenue Chapel with a graveside service following at 3:30 p.m. at Terrace Heights Memorial Park. To share a memory of Chester visit www.keithandkeith.com.