Cover photo for Chester Williams's Obituary
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1918 Chester 2017

Chester Williams

December 23, 1918 — November 6, 2017

Chester Spring (Chet) Williams passed away after a short illness in Las Vegas, NV on November 6, 2017.  He was born in Boston, MA on December 23, 1918, to a teaching family, son of Russell Tillinghast Williams and Mary Elizabeth Spring.  He attended Needham, MA public schools and Vermont Academy, Dartmouth, A.B.; (English Classics major, Glee Club, Sailing Club, Theta Delta Chi).  While at Yale, A.M., 1946, Ph.D., 1948 (Secondary & Higher Education Administration), taught English and Social Studies at Hamden Hall Country Day School, and Report Writing at New Haven Community College.

Chet was preceded in death by his wife, Beverly-Austin Williams.  He is survived by son Jay Scott Williams, Texarkana; daughters Elizabeth Spring Williams, Texarkana, Cynthia Sizeler, Pleasant Hill, CA. and Astara Marcia [Williams], Palo Alto, CA; stepdaughters Jamie Austin, Playa del Rey, CA, and Diedre Rumph N. Las Vegas, NV.  There are ten grandchildren, ten great grandchildren, six nieces, two nephews with their families and two cousins.

He served four years with the Air Engineers (5th Air Force), in the South Pacific in World War II, and Unesco, as Education Planning Specialist, in Somalia and Western Samoa. Chet taught in Teacher-Education programs in Arizona (NAU, Flagstaff, 1948-1950), Texas (NTU, Denton, 1950-1955), Oklahoma (O.U., 1955-1959), Kansas (Wichita State U., 1959-1960), and Indiana (I.S.U., 1964-1970).  As University Administrator he was Director, Bangalore Center, Callison College, U. of the Pacific, Stockton, CA (1970-1972), and (TAMU Texarkana, 1973-2002).

The society for Visual Education leased his slides on Education in the Soviet Union in 1958, the same year Dartmouth bestowed the annual Harold Rugg Award in Education.  He earned his doctorate at 30; full professorship, ten years later.  He conducted a national workshop of the Association for Teacher Education, Reno, NV, 1959.  Chet served on City of Texarkana, TX Ten-Year Goals Committee and also as chair, Texarkana Housing Opportunities Committee.

Chet served as President, Texarkana Noon Lions’ Club and FUSE [Friends United for a Safe Environment], member of Georgia Pacific’s Community Environmental Advisory Committee, member and Chair, Texarkana Community Group of IONS [Institute of Noetic Sciences].  Honorary and professional organizations include Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Delta Kappa, Association of Teacher Educators, Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, Association of Transpersonal Psychology, and the Texas Folklore Society.  He was a Life Member of the Terre Haute Chapter of the NAACP.

Chet served as President of University of North Texas, Texas A&M-Texarkana chapters of the Texas Association of College Teachers, and the University of Northern Arizona and Indiana State University chapters of the American Association of University Professors.

Chet enjoyed sailing, racing [Duxbury, MA Yacht Club, Bangalore, India Sailing Club], singing, and playing musical instruments – piano, accordion, harmonica, guitar, 5-string banjo, and mandolin – appearing on radio programs in MA [Babson Park] and GA [Augusta], and jamming with Pete Seeger, informal at home during family visits, and at a concert in Western Samoa [Samoa College, 1963].

Chet wrote a plethora of education articles for professional publications, two Unesco national education development plans [Somali Republic and Western Samoa]; and recorded/notes-edited, and with the late composer – luteist/soloist Abdullah Kershi, accompanied Smithsonian/Folkways CD #5443, Freedom Songs of the Somali Republic, [1962].  Old-timers may recall his weekly education columns in the Texarkana Gazette some years ago.  He also published “How to Speak Official Chinese, A Manual of Modern Mandarin in the New Romanization,” after participating in a second Phi Delta Kappa Seminar, in 1969 [the first, concerning Soviet Education, in 1958].

Chet and his wife Beverly moved to Boulder City, NV in 2002.  In December 2013, he moved to the Nevada State Veterans Home, Boulder City.  Chet volunteered playing music for Veterans from 2002, when the home opened, until October 31, 2017.  He was a long time member of NOFA, Nevada Old Time Fiddlers Association, and a member of the Boulder City Lions Club.

In lieu of flowers, please give to your favorite charity.  An informal memorial musical celebration among family and friends will be held on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Nevada State Veterans Home in the Dining Room in Boulder City, NV.  Family and friends can sign an online memorial guestbook at

Sing Out! Sing On!

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