July 29, 2011
Jack Chester Leaves Professionalism Legacy for Legal Community
An enduring love of the law guided renowned Columbus attorney John J. “Jack” Chester in his law practice for more than 60 years. When Jack passed away July 24 at the age of 91, he left a legacy of professionalism and service for the entire legal community.
A graduate of Bexley High School, Amherst College and Yale School of Law, Jack was a third-generation lawyer, who practiced in the law firm known today as Chester Willcox & Saxbe, started by his grandfather, John J. Chester, in 1884. A respected legal expert and formidable litigator, he was counsel to corporate leaders, lawmakers, state and federal office holders and a president. Described as “the lawyer’s lawyer,” Jack not only counseled peers in difficult situations but also focused on family law, business litigation and commercial real estate development. In 2000, Jack was invited by Moritz College of Law to serve as an adjunct professor teaching classes on trial preparation, a post he held until 2009.
His career was defined by his commitment to the law, politics and public service. Enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Jack served as executive officer and chief engineer on destroyers for four years earning three Battle Stars. In 1952, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives where his three terms of office spanned six years. In 1974, he was appointed Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Dedicated to community service, Jack served on the boards of Riverside Methodist Hospital, Doctors Hospital, U.S. Health and OhioHealth, frequently in the role of Chairman, for more than 25 years starting in 1984.
For the legal community, Jack’s service lives on in the Chester Professionalism Institute at the Columbus Bar Foundation which he founded in 2002 to strengthen the professionalism of individual practices.