Obituary Listings

Cecil Ray Chesser

May 7, 1926 December 13, 2002
Cecil Ray Chesser
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Obituary for Cecil Ray Chesser
Cecil R. Chesser, Sr., age 76, a noted historian and educator and lifelong resident of Southwest Oklahoma, passed away Friday at his home.

Mr. Chesser, Dean of Administration and professor at Western Oklahoma State College in Altus for 22 years, was born on May 7, 1926, near Eldorado, Oklahoma to C.W. "Cap" and Julia "Ince" Chesser. His early education was at Stoney Point, Prairie Hill and Aaron Schools before joining the U.S. Navy at age 17 in 1943 at the height of World War II. In the Navy, his service was primarily in the islands of the South Pacific about which he later wrote a published novel, "Navy Green". He was discharged at war's end in 1946.

After completing his military duty, he returned to Southwest Oklahoma where he resumed his education. He married Loweta M. Cross in Quanah, Texas, June 23, 1946, and one year later moved to Cowden, Oklahoma, to work in the ministry and pursue a degree in education at Southwestern Oklahoma State College in Weatherford on the GI Bill. He completed his Bachelor's Degree in 1952 and would later earn a Master's Degree at SWOSU as well. Mr. Chesser initially taught at the John Seger Indian School in Colony and then at Cowden schools before moving to Central Oklahoma for four years as coach, principal, and teacher in Centerview and Asher. In 1958, he and his family returned to Altus where he accepted a position as principal in the Altus School System. He worked in various schools there until 1966 when he was named Dean of Administration at Western Oklahoma State College.

It was at WOSC where he was an integral faculty figure until 1988, that he reaped his greatest professional and personal enjoyment. He wrote and had published two poetry books and two history books during his tenure there. To recognize his contributions for 36 years in education, he was elected President of the Oklahoma Educators Association and, in 1998, was inducted into the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Mr. Chesser retired from full time involvement from WOSC in 1988 but continued teaching, speaking engagements and writing. His published writings also included numerous novels and history books which are now featured in special displays at the WOSC library and in the State Capital. His chronicles of the First Baptist Church in Altus and, later its longtime pastor, Keith Wiginton, earned him the Gaskin Award for Church History in both 1992 and 2001. His last years were spent on tireless service to his church, First Baptist of Altus, numerous speaking engagements throughout the state and continuing to work with the Museum of the Western Prairie. "Cecil Chesser Redbud Lane" on the campus of WOSC was dedicated to recognize his many contributions to education and his chronicles of the history of Southwestern Oklahoma. An active member and past President of the Rotary Club, he was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.

Mr. Chesser is survived by his wife of 56 years, Loweta Chesser of the home; two sons, C.R. "Cap" Chesser of Plano, Texas and Dr. Ron Chesser of Lubbock, Texas; two brothers, Lee R. Chesser of Altus and Loyd Chesser of Bartlesville; two sisters, Marie Moon of Altus and Peg Leader of Wyandotte; four grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Mr. Chesser was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, W. C. "Bill" Chesser and a sister Bonnie Parks-Southern. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, December 17th at the
First Baptist Church of Altus. Interment will be in Altus Cemetery under the direction of Lowell-Tims Funeral Home.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the WOSC Foundation for the Cecil Chesser Scholarship Fund, 2801 N. Main, Altus, OK, 73521, ATTN: Larry Duffy.

The family will greet friends at Lowell-Tims Funeral Home, Monday, December 16th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
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