Chester G. Henderson

May 31, 1917October 5, 2012

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


  • Visitation Tuesday, October 9, 2012
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chester G. Henderson

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Gwyn Vautour Slack

October 11, 2012

Chester was a good friend to Mom after Dad died. Dad's dog Lucy was so lonely that she spent her days at the Hendersons and Mom would pick her up every day on her way home from work. Lucy loved to curl up on their patio and watch Chet garden. One day he had to run down to the canal and haul her out as she was too old to make it on her own. Chester was a good man.

Richard Boyd

October 10, 2012

My wife and I knew Chet as a neighbor.
I came to know him in the office as a friend and patient. My most endearing memory of Chet is how much he loved and respected his wife. And how can I not remember the love of his loyal dog - was it freckles or pickles? He would always share stories of his family. He loved you all. G_d bless his family and may G_d bless Chet.

Dr and Mrs Richard Boyd

Amy Henderson

October 9, 2012

In loving memory of an incredible man, thank you for allowing me to be part of your life Chet, you will be missed.

Carol Carnahan

October 9, 2012

I loved my friend Chet....I got to be a part of his life for the last 2 years....I loved our road trips and his dedication to several local stores in the town. I loved hearing all the stories from his past. His wife and their meeting,"she picked me." wrapped up in a raccoon skin coat to keep her warm on a hayrack ride. He was dedicated to teaching, long after he retired..more than one time he taught me something new..
He loved life !!!! Every living thing in it...from feeding the birds and giving them water to providing shelter for the ducks, and watching them raise their young. I will and do miss him greatly.....
Chester you were amazing, and i will never forget you...You were my teacher, like a father, and my good friend.

Susie Laney Serra

October 9, 2012

My best friend's father, Chet, was a dear friend to all my family. And as it turned out, one house, on Panorama Drive, has known only our two families: The Laneys and the Hendersons. I am grateful that Chet was able to live out his days, independent and happy, in the house so loved by all of us. He was a wise and strict teacher. Many of my friends had him for "study hall" at East Valley High School. But Chet usually had something to impart during the hour, and so it didn't remain "study hall" for long! I learned much from him. "Can't never did anything." I learned "drive" and determination, and to not say, "I can't." Sometimes, it is still what gets me through a day. I learned good manners and respect. And I learned it is always a good idea to have vast numbers of canned tomato soup on hand in the cellar. One never knows. I learned gardening from my own father, whose passion was exotic flowers, but also from Chet. I learned the rewards of growing your own berries and tomatoes and scarlet runner beans, as well as honeysuckle. I learned to pick the flowers and suck the nectar. He was my second father. When my own father passed away, my mother offered me the choice of a pallbearer. I said "Chet." I will always be grateful that he was there to help lay my father to rest. And so, in spirit, I do the same for Chet. Goodnight, Sweet Prince. You live in my memory always.

My love to Marilyn and Earl,