Chester William Whitman passed away peacefully at his Colvos, Vashon home on May 30, 2018. He is preceded in death by his wife Phyllis. Chet was born in West Seattle April 7, 1928, attended Lafayette Grade School, Madison Junior High School and graduated from West Seattle High School (class of 1946). Chet went on to receive a Bachelor’s of Sciences Degree from the University of Washington in 1951. He was a member of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity and in the Husky Marching Band. Directly after college he proceeded into Officers Candidate School and served in the US Navy as communications officer onboard the USS Andromeda during the Korean War.
His family began coming over to the island in the 1940s, sometimes by horseback across the ferries and soon began to established early friendships with the island folk that would last a lifetime. His parents, Mortimer and Laura, bought an old farm on the west side where they would spend their summers. Chet met the love of his life, Phyllis Poland, who was a young music teacher from Kansas, on the island and they were married August 6, 1955.
Chet started out working with his father managing the family business, West Waterway Lumber Co., a saw mill on the Duwamish River. He later oversaw the development of the property into warehouses, from where he owned and managed various businesses over the years.
Chet was very involved and knew many people in both the lumber/logging industries, and the Seattle marine and waterfront community. He thoroughly enjoyed being around the water and was as comfortable chatting with company presidents as with the many tug boat skippers, deck hands, pile bucks and working guys that he made a point to get to know.
Chet served his much-loved island community by devoting 40 years to the Washington Ferry Advisory Committee for Vashon and was recognized with an award by the State Ferry Commission for his dedicated service. He was very involved with the Bethel Church, helping to build the new church, enjoying many work parties, bible study groups and acting as an Elder for many years. Chet (Chainsaw Chet) was possibly best known around the island for helping many with problem trees, dropping them where he wanted and then bucking, splitting and delivering many, many cords throughout the years, to those in need of winter heat.
Chet loved people, enjoyed talking to people, laughing and joking. He enjoyed having a beer with his “Old Farts” group on Friday at Sporty’s, and always had an open door policy at his house to anyone who needed an ear and possibly a quiet word of encouragement. He was known to many and will be missed by all.
Chet is survived by his sisters: Margie, Sylvia and Rheta; children: Randy (Debbie), Roy (Kathleen), Laura Beth(Jeff) and grandchildren: Justin, Alex, Meagan, Cody, Caleb, Luke, and Josh.
A celebration of life will be held at the Bethel Church on Thursday June 21st, at 1:00 pm, followed by a reception.
Donations in his name can be made to the Bethel Church.
Please visit our online guest book at www.islandfuneral.com