James Michael "Jim" Chester





(May 25, 1944 - July 30, 2010)


The Lusk Herald
August 11, 2010


James Michael Chester

James Michael Chester, 66, of Eureka, Montana, passed away on Friday, July 30, 2010 at his home after a four week struggle in the aftermath of quadruple bypass surgery. Jim was born in Lusk, Wyo. on May 25, 1944 to Robert and Jane Chester. Jim served in the U.S. Army for four years in the late 1960s, primarily in Europe on administrative duty. He was a Vietnam vet and was awarded the Bronze Star. He graduated from Montana State University with a Masterís Degree in Wildlife Biology and wore the badge of a National Park Service Ranger in Yellowstone while working on his thesis. Jim then became employed by the United States Postal Service for 28 years until his retirement in June of 2009.

Jimís passion was cave exploration, specifically of the alpine wilderness cave systems of Montana. He was a Fellow of The Explorers Club and The National Speleological Society. The NSS has recognized Jimís achievements with their highest award for exploration. He served on the Board of Directors of The Alpine Karst Foundation and was a member of The U.S. Cave Exploration Committee of the NSS. He was past editor of Alpine Karst, and author (ghost) of the latest edition of the Boy Scouts of America Orienteering merit badge booklet. He was The Chapters Editor for The Explorers Log. He kayaked nearly 2000 ocean miles; dived thermal features in Yellowstone National Park; rappelled into a 240 foot well in a European medieval castle and discovered a new species of amphipod in a Glacier National Park Cave. Jim has carried The Explorers Club Flag twice, once in 2007 and once in 2009. Jim was the recipient of The 2005 Vancouver Award of The Pacific Northwest Chapter and was the 2010 Explorers Club Citation of Merit Awardee for outstanding service to the Explorers Club as the Chapters Editor of The Explorers Log and for his extraordinary contributions to the field of cave exploration.

Jim was a brilliant, caring, loving, compassionate person who lived his life to the fullest, making every day an adventure of sorts, whether he was climbing mountains, descending caves, paddling the ocean blue, delivering the mail or simply hanging out with kindred spirits. His life philosophy was to follow his curiosity and see where it led him. His favorite non-physical pastimes were drinking coffee, reading, playing the piano, sipping cognac and loving his five cats.

Jim is survived by his son Michael Chester (and wife Kelli) of Boise, Idaho, brother Doug Chester (and wife Susan) of Normal, Illinois, former wives and best friends Mary Alice Chester of Helena and Susan Marie Conrad of Bigfork, two grandchildren, (Elias and Emily Chester) several nieces and nephews and many other countless friends and loved ones whose lives he touched immeasurably.

Jimís wishes were to be cremated. A reception honoring his life will be held at the Rexford day use area on Lake Koocanusa in Rexford, Montana on Monday, August 9 at 3 p.m. All are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Explorers Club New York Youth Expedition Fund in care of Lorie Karnath, President, The Explorers Club, 46 E. 70th St., New York, NY 10021








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