Chester Emerson Lee was born to Major and Ada (Campbell) Lee on January 10, 1924, in Pennington, Alabama. Major and Ada had 11 children that lived to adulthood, and Chester was next to the last.
Chester frequently spoke of caring for his younger sibling Lonnie and caring for his mother prior to her death. He was a great storyteller and such a large family provided many stories to pass down thru generations.
Chester completed high school while living in Tuskegee, Alabama. Shortly afterwards Chester was drafted into the U.S. Army. Chester was raised in a Christian home and believed that the prayers of his mother kept him safe. Chester shared that while being stateside and after he was deployed to Germany, he was given the job of writing letters for the other soldiers to send to their loved ones.
Chester was one of the very few who could read and write. As a result of his writing skills he did not see any combat activity. Chester was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant February 11, 1946. After discharge, Chester moved to Mobile, Alabama to learn the plastering trade from his brother Ulysses. At some point Chester went to Washington DC to pursue an electrical engineering degree at Howard University. Although Chester went to Howard on the GI Bill financing, it was not enough to go continually. Chester had to go to school for a semester or two and then return home to raise money from plastering. During one of his counseling sessions with his school advisor he got advice that changed his life. When he told his counselor what he was making as a plasterer, his counselor told him that even with an electrical engineering degree he could never make what he made plastering. Chester ended up in Cleveland, Ohio and never looked back. He mastered the trade of plastering and successfully ran a business with his brothers.
Chester became involved at East Mt. Zion Baptist Church as a trustee, Sunday School teacher, usher, and supported the church with his finances, time and prayers. It was at a Sunday School convention that he met his future wife, Seabell Stephens. Chester and Seabell got married in the spring of 1953 and to this union two sons were born. Larry Emerson and Anthony Lamar. Chester loved him some “Bell”, and she wanted for nothing. They were married for 66 years.
Chester enjoyed listening to baseball and loved traveling whether it was driving to visit his sons in Columbus, Ohio or driving to the home-site in Alabama. Chester found joy in helping those in need. He was a man of integrity, kind, always sharing the love of God, and his love of family. All who knew him loved and respected him for his big heart and good advice.
Chester was preceded in death by his parents, siblings and his wife, Seabell Lee. He leaves to celebrate his homegoing; sons, Larry (Valerie) Lee, and Anthony (Karen) Lee; grandchildren; Damon Lee, and Nicholas Lee; great-grandchildren, December, Sydney Bella, and Alexander Lee; as well as a host of nieces, nephews and his East Mt. Zion church family and friends.
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