Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CSM Chester Southworth, Sr., USA, Ret.

 Chester "Chet" Southworth, Sr., was born August 24, 1923 in Fall River, MA.  At the age of 6, he met his childhood sweetheart, and future wife of 65 years, Florance Mary Maher.  They were married on September 26, 1948.

Chet had but three loves in his life:  his wife, his children and his Country.  He was a proud veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  He served his country honorably as a US Army Combat Engineer for more than 30 years.  He retired in Killeen, Texas as a Command Sergeant Major in 1978.

Chet and his World War II brothers have held reunions annually for more than 20 years.  He will be missed greatly by not only his immediate family, but also his 1974th Engineer Aviation Battalion family.

A funeral service for Chet was held on May 10 at St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church in Harker Heights, Texas.  In attendance were the Patriot Guard Riders who formed a line of American flags at the entrance to the church to welcome the family and friends.

After the service, the Riders led the funeral procession to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Killeen, where the family was greeted by fifty American flags blowing in the Texas wind.

After the flag draped coffin was moved from the hearse to the committal shelter by the Army Honor Guard, the Riders formed a line of flags along the front of the shelter during the ensuing Rite of Committal and the rendering of military honors.

The Catholic Priest performed the Rite of Committal, sprinkled holy water on the coffin, and presented a crucifix to Chet's dear wife.

The Army Detail of five rifles fired three volleys of fire, representing Duty, Honor and Country, followed by the playing of taps, as all in attendance stood and faced the coffin.

The American flag that covered the coffin was folded into a tight triangle and passed to an Army Non-Commissioned Officer.  He presented the flag to Florance on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for Chet's honorable and faithful service.

CSM Chester Southworth, Sr. was laid to rest on the sloping cemetery hill side, as the flag flew at half-staff at the top of the hill in his honor.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, a brother, three children, 12 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, a host of other dear family and friends, and his military Brothers.

Mourn not for me,
My friends so dear.
Although in death
I slumber here.
My days have passed.
My grave you see.
Therefore prepare 
To follow me.

(unknown author)

With thanks to Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home and Ceej Foy for additional photographs, and to the family for biographical information.

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