April 16, 1950 - May 17, 2020
Chester Eugene Kelsey entered into his eternal home with the Lord on May 17, 2020. Chet, as he was known to friends and Gene, as he was known to his sisters, nieces and nephews, was born in Pasadena, CA, on April 16, 1950. Chet grew up in the Meadows neighborhood in the Altadena foothills, in a house that his father helped build on Canyon Crest Road with his three sisters Lois, Wilma and Roma. He embraced life with an inquisitive mind, a generous heart, a playful attitude and an adventurous spirit. Chet gave his life to the Lord at age 13 at a Billy Graham crusade in the Los Angeles Coliseum. That remained a powerful and life changing experience that impacted his life in serving the Lord, his family, friends, country and church. As a teen, he enjoyed summers camping with his father at a mining claim off Hwy 49 outside of Downieville, CA. His best friend often accompanied him, and they enjoyed tubing along the Yuba River and searching for gold in the nearby hills. That was always a special memory for him and he continued his passion for gold mining, spending a few days at that same mining claim last September. He enjoyed all kinds of sports, playing baseball in grade school and football at John Muir High School in Pasadena, from which he graduated in 1968. He attended Pasadena City College for a few months before enlisting in the Army in October of that year, together with his best friend. After basic training, Chet was stationed in Okinawa for 18 months, where he served as Stock Control and Accounting Specialist. He was awarded the Certificate of Achievement as a Repair Part Specialist in October, 1970 and finished his military career at Fort Lewis, Washington before receiving an Honorable Discharge in May, 1971. He was a proud Army veteran and remained in contact with several of the soldiers that he served with. After the military, Chet returned to Altadena, attended Pasadena City College and worked in the office at L.A. Boiler Works. He was a longtime member of Altadena Baptist Church, where he met his first wife Sue Ann Boekenoogen. The couple were married in June, 1975. They purchased a home in Altadena in 1976 and had two children, in 1981 and 1983. Through their church, they formed lifelong friendships and served the Lord. ABC was more than just a church, it was family. Chet was a soccer coach and they enjoyed family camping trips. In the late 1970’s Chet began a career as a ceramic tile contractor that spanned over 30 years. Chet enjoyed working with his hands, and he assisted with numerous maintenance projects around the church. His leadership in the church over the years included working with the Youth Group, teaching in the Sunday School and serving on the Board of Deacons. Chet and Sue Ann hosted a weekly Bible Study in their home. Sue Ann worked in the church office until her passing in January, 1992. He met his second wife, Jacqueline in 1996, and they were married in June, 1997. Together they raised “their” children and proudly saw them each enter the military, Air Force and Army respectively. Chet and Jacqueline continued to serve the Lord at Altadena Baptist Church. Chet’s volunteer work continued as a Deacon, teaching Children’s Church on Sunday and helping with Vacation Bible School. His last major work project at the church included installation of a lift for wheelchair access to the lower level, upgrading the restrooms to make them accessible for the disabled and installation of vinyl flooring on the entire lower level. Chet dedicated many hours performing various tasks around the church often working alongside Pastor George, and he readily gave his time to help whenever it was needed. Chet continued his ceramic tile work in residential and commercial projects. He was well respected among his contractors as a skilled craftsman, and he developed friendships that went beyond the work environment. He created one-of-a-kind designs, and his expertise was valued by his many clients and appreciated by his peers. Along the way, Chet learned about plumbing and electrical which allowed him to broaden his construction capabilities. After he married Jacqueline, he converted the garage in their home into a master suite, without any help. As time went by and tile work began to become physically challenging, Chet followed his passion for learning, and at the age of 51 enrolled in Cal State University, Los Angeles, to pursue his degree in education; he earned a BA in History. He often remarked that he was known as “the old guy” among his classmates. He actually liked this, because it made him work harder and gave him an opportunity to show that it’s never too late to go after your dream. After graduation in 2005, he began a second career as a substitute teacher for the Monrovia and Duarte School Districts. He enjoyed being around children of all ages, and this gave him a renewed purpose in life. Chet was a creative man and he took great pleasure in making and repairing things. He had several hobbies and interests that he enjoyed over the years including research (he enjoyed spending time at the library), sports (he was a loyal Raiders fan), art, drawing, world and American history, architecture, science (especially how things work), trains and coin collecting. He acquired many tools, books, trains, art crafts and just plain “stuff” to help support his ongoing desire for creativity and learning. If anyone ever needed a tool, advice on “how to” or help on a project, they contacted Chet and he freely shared his time and talent. He was an avid fisherman and enjoyed annual fishing trips to Hume Lake with many church members. That was always a special time for him, not just for the fishing, but the fellowship, storytelling and laughter among friends. Chet and Jacqueline became first time grandparents to Cameron in July 2015, and Chet immediately stepped into his new role with pride as “Papa”. Cameron was his joy, and over the next 4-1/2 years, he would spend months at a time helping to care for and raise Cameron. He shared his love of adventure, and they enjoyed spending time together playing games, learning numbers and words, working in the yard, playing with trains and coin collecting. As an extended family, they enjoyed three cruises together. Papa was also known as the “fix it guy” who repaired broken toys and just about anything that needed fixing around the house. No project was too intimidating for him and if he didn’t know how to fix it, he would spend time researching it on YouTube…because that’s what he did! Chet and Jacqueline sold their home in Altadena in April, 2018 and spent the next five months traveling the West in their travel trailer. Over the years they enjoyed travel to Hawaii and Australia, the western states, camping, visiting national parks (Zion was always a favorite), hiking, fishing, canoeing and swimming. Chet’s favorite outdoor spot was Lake Tahoe and camping at Fallen Leaf campground. Another favorite camping spot was Lake of the Woods in Oregon and anywhere along the Oregon coast. They moved into their new home in Sierra Vista, AZ in September, 2018. Those who knew Chet were aware that he could be comfortable talking to anyone about anything, so of course he immediately made friends in their new community. He enjoyed playing pool at the clubhouse with a group of them and spending time discussing their families, travel and military careers. Chet’s outlook on life was simple – he would say “It’s all about love.” He knew and understood that we are called to share God’s love and did his best to demonstrate that to everyone around him. We will miss the love and laughter he brought into our lives. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, Papa, brother, brother in law, uncle, a true friend to many, his love for the Lord, loyalty to family and friends, faith and service to his church, his unique sense of humor, his genuine personality and his captive smile. A service is not planned at this time but the family hopes to have one in California later in the year. To ensure the health and safety of our community, we are following all guidelines set by local, state and CDC officials. If you are planning on attending a service, please contact the funeral home in advance, so that we can plan accordingly.
Chester Eugene Kelsey entered into his eternal home with the Lord on May 17, 2020. Chet, as he was known to friends and Gene, as he was known to his sisters, nieces and nephews, was born in Pasadena, CA, on April 16, 1950. Chet grew up in... View Obituary & Service Information
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