Chester Christian Meyer Jr.

By on August 29, 2013

Chester Christian Meyer Jr., 69, passed away while surrounded by family at his Maple Park home on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013.

Chet was born on Feb. 5, 1944, in Oak Park, Ill., to Chester C. and Edith C. (Larson) Meyer Sr. He was raised in Westchester, Ill., and graduated from Proviso West High School in 1962.

He spent five years stationed in Georgia as a radar operator in the U.S. Navy. After the Navy, the young veteran took a course in German from an attractive Triton College rookie instructor who was not at all impressed with his classroom antics. She left enough of an impression on him that he majored in German at University of Illinois-Chicago, graduating in 1974 with a B.A. Those antics eventually evolved to be more effective some years later, when Hilda Markowski, the instructor, finally accepted his offer to go to a musical.

Chet married Hilda on Aug. 10, 1974. Together they lived in Oak Park until they moved into their beautiful house in unincorporated Maple Park that Chet, Hilda and friends built in 1978.
Over the years Chet was the proprietor of three small businesses that allowed him to put his hands to work. First, he restored antique furniture at Old World Restoration; then he sold vintage and modern wood stoves at the Blackberry Stove Store in Geneva. Finally, when his daughter entered elementary school, he retrained as a dental technician at Triton College and started the Kane Denture Service. Chet continued to handcraft comfortable custom dentures in his lab until his recent retirement in 2011.

Chet was heavily involved in the Elburn community and active in the Kaneland schools. He coached baseball in Elburn for eight years, from 1987 to 1994, and served as president of the newly formed Elburn Countryside Athletic Association from 1994 to 1997. Chet also was an active observer of the Kaneland School Board and served on multiple committees.

Chet’s passions included the outdoors, gardening and woodworking. He spent time every summer canoeing in the upper Midwest with family and friends, and particularly loved the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the Sylvania Wilderness. He was especially at peace on the water and loved to teach others about wilderness camping.

At home, Chet was often found in his workshop making beautiful objects, from furniture to wooden boats and canoe paddles to intricate toys for his grandchildren. He also enjoyed cultivating his bountiful flower and heirloom vegetable gardens. His curiosity for how and why things worked was infectious, and while mastering many, he was a true jack of all trades.

Chet was known for his Midwestern friendliness, his willingness to help others, and his fierce advocacy of progressive values. He loved his family, especially the grandchildren, and never passed up an opportunity to build or restore old toys for them. He loved to dote upon his grandchildren and sit outside in his beautiful yard, quietly observing the changing seasons, even when feeling ill during his year-long struggle with leukemia.

He is survived by Hilda, his loving wife of 39 years; his daughter, Katja Meyer; and son-in-law, Burt Thomas; his grandchildren, Farris and Mathilda Thomas Meyer; and his sister, Andrea Bauza.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Chester and Edith Meyer, Sr.

Chet did not want a funeral. Instead the family will host a celebration to honor his life at his home in September. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, www.donate.lls.org/lls/donate, or Friends of the Boundary Waters, www.friends-bwca.org/donate/. Tributes and memories may be forwarded to the family through conleycare.com.